mY GOOD friend David Katz, author of the alpha/omega of books documenting the history of reggae, just released the revised and expanded edition of ‘Solid Foundation: An Oral History of Reggae,’ which tells the story of “the big music from the likkle island” through interviews with those who lived it. To say it is definitive does not adequately encompass nor convey the value of this work both as a reference for writers, collectors, fans, and historians as well as a documentary of this historic movement, told through a decades worth of personal interviews with the artists and musicians responsible for sparking it and bearing the torch for it.
I spoke recently with David regarding his newly published ‘Solid Foundation: An Oral History of Reggae (Revised and Expanded).’
MR: So I was excited to hear that you would be revising and updating your book “Solid Foundation: An Oral History of Reggae.” The book is a phenomenal piece of history. What can we expect in the revised edition that’s in stores now?
DK: In a nutshell, there are two new chapters on the dancehall era (chapters 13 and 14), tracing what happened after ‘Sleng Teng’ and bringing the book into the new Millennium. Also, there is a lot of interview material in chapters 10, 11 and 12 that was not in the original book, with artists such as Barrington Levy, Trinity, Josie Wales, Charlie Chaplin, etc etc. Additionally, because I know much more than I did when I submitted the manuscript of the original edition back in 2002, I have completely restructured chapter 1, because I have much more solid information in the book about the very first recordings ever made in Jamaica – that is, who made them, when, how and why. The text was also updated to reference the final days of those that have passed away since the book was first published, in order to honour the dead. And the text has been re-edited throughout, to make it tighter and to aid the flow. Plus, some errors were corrected.
Furthermore, this time there are 40+ photos on proper photo plates using high-quality paper, including several images not published before, and some great rare archive images. For reasons that were never explained properly, the original edition only had ‘integrated’ photos, which were not on the correct type of paper, so many were not reproduced properly in the original book.