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The Half That's Never Been Told: The Real-Life Reggae Adventures of Doctor…

by Doctor Dread

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received The Half That's Never Been Told: The Real-Life Reggae Adventures of Doctor Dread by Doctor Dread (Gary Himelfarb) as part of the LibraryThing Early Reviewers. This is a well written, fast reading book that is surely to be of interest to music lovers, especially those who love reggae. I knew nothing of Doctor Dread, beyond his name, and very little about reggae, so I learned a lot by reading this book. ( )
  PeggyK49 | Apr 15, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Interesting read for anyone who is not only a fan of reggae music, but a music fan in general!

Doctor Dread talks about his experience working with some of the most influential names in reggae music. He also explains what the Rastafarian beliefs are. His use of humor keeps the book moving quickly for the reader and keeps you invested until the end. ( )
  misscarrieb | Mar 31, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Great book. Dr. Dread aka Gary Himelburg, has been a player in the production of reggae music and distribution of reggae music around the world for many years. Through RAS Records and Tafarian Music Publishing, Dr. Dread has introduced reggae artists and music from Jamaica to the rest of the world.

This book is an extremely well written, easy to read and digest autobiography of Dr. Dread's relationships with artists and with the Rastafarian movement. One of the most refreshing aspects of the book is that Dread is a Rasta himself and spends some time explaining what true Rastafarian beliefs entail and mean. For him, and for other involved, there is a depth of spiritual practice that goes far beyond the suburban teenage belief in Rasta as an excuse to smoke pot. In fact, although the herb makes appearances in this book, it is in the context of its place as part of the religious practice.

Another refreshing aspect is that while Bob Marley is mentioned in appropriately reverential tones as one of the founders of the Wailers and an important figure in Jamaica and the reggae movement, the book does not overly focus on him, thus allowing many other acts who have made important contributions to reggae to have their day in the sun.

The first third of the book covers the authors travels through South America, Colombia and ultimately, finding his way to Jamaica. In many ways, this third is also a love letter to Jamaica. By that, I mean that he really takes you there so that whether you have been or not, you have the feel of the people, the smell of the beach and the jungle and the sea breeze, the taste of the food and the feel of the sand as well as the sound of the music firmly entrenched in your mind. These are important elements to all world music as they establish for the reader, the setting in which this music is created.

The second third of the book is about the author's interactions with individual reggae artists and groups. This encompasses everything from individual songs, to production of albums, to touring issues. It takes the reader from ska, to traditional reggae to dancehall reggae to rap and hip hop that have been influenced by reggae. Readers will probably be surprised by the number of acts they recognize. If not the acts, then many songs mentioned will be familiar. This is also a valuable introduction that all musicians should read about how the music business works. Dr. Dread worked from a particular philosophy that was greatly influenced by his beliefs in Rastafarianism and personal spirituality. He takes the opportunity to point out how artists are frequently duped out of monies they should be receiving from their music: from publishing, performing and touring to merchandising and promotion.

The final third of the book focuses on the realities of life. While Dread made money in music, he also lost it. How being an artist doesn't really pay and many artists and producers are forced to get "real jobs" in order to afford to be able to do what they love. Hands up all artists that have taken those jobs they hate for the same reasons. He talks about his loathsome experiences in working for the man and how his personal health issues played into his need for health insurance. Hands up again, artists.

A great read for lovers of reggae, musicians, artists and those leading the life on the road less traveled or those wanting to love it vicariously through others who have done so already ( )
  ozzieslim | Mar 15, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
An often hilarious look inside the reggae music industry from erstwhile Wash. D.C. producer and radio personality Doctor Dread. Just as the book's subtitle states, Dread provides a series of honest and heartfelt ganja drenched chapters of "reggae adventure" revolving around RAS Records from the early 70s to a few years back. He doesn't hold back on the industry's dark side either, detailing the many and sometimes overwhelming challenges of dealing with various reggae artists, their drugs, their finances and concert tour management issues throughout the world. Often noting that no one can replace the great Bob Marley, Dread details his dealings with those reggae artists he felt came closest.

Doctor Dread writes as he speaks and reading this book provides quick immersion into Rastafarian culture and lingo. Obviously a work of love, he evokes Rasta spirit and religion throughout. I'd recommend this book to anyone even marginally interested in reggae music or Ras Tafari. ( )
  vaniamk13 | Mar 10, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Doctor Dread has worked with almost all the top stars of the Reggae world. A great inside look at how a white kid from Washington D.C. became the owner of RAS Records and produced and distributed reggae records from Jamaica to the rest of the world. Recommended to anyone interested in Reggae and most likely any music lover will get a lot of enjoyment out of reading this book. ( )
  bjkelley | Mar 8, 2015 |
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Doctor Dread has committed his life to producing reggae music and releasing it on his label, RAS Records. He has become one of the world's foremost reggae producers, and has worked with almost all the genre's icons: Bunny Wailer, Black Uhuru, Ziggy and Damian Marley, Gregory Isaacs, etc. This book, full of behind-the-scenes stories, has shocking chapters that will reveal aspects of reggae never before explored.… (more)

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