The Natural Mystics by Colin Grant
Marley, Tosh, and Wailer

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Synopsis

The definitive group biography of the Wailers—Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Livingston—chronicling their rise to fame and power.


Over one dramatic decade, a trio of Trenchtown R&B crooners swapped their 1960s Brylcreem hairdos and two-tone suits for 1970s battle fatigues and dreadlocks to become the Wailers—one of the most influential groups in popular music. Colin Grant presents a lively history of this remarkable band from their upbringing in the brutal slums of Kingston to their first recordings and then international superstardom. With energetic prose and stunning, original research, Grant argues that these reggae stars offered three models for black men in the second half of the twentieth century: accommodate and succeed (Marley), fight and die (Tosh), or retreat and live (Livingston). Grant meets with Rastafarian elders, Obeah men (witch doctors), and other folk authorities as he attempts to unravel the mysteries of Jamaica's famously impenetrable culture. Much more than a top-flight music biography, The Natural Mystics offers a sophisticated understanding of Jamaican politics, heritage, race, and religion—a portrait of a seminal group during a period of exuberant cultural evolution.
 

About Colin Grant

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The author of Negro with a Hat, a biography of Marcus Garvey, Colin Grant is an independent historian who works for BBC Radio. The son of Jamaican immigrants, he lives in London.
 
Published June 20, 2011 by W. W. Norton & Company. 337 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Arts & Photography. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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(Grant seems more engaged with a West Indies scholar who specializes in Jamaican slave life.) Still, the book clarifies the band’s impact in its home country, which collectively mourned when Marley succumbed to cancer in 1981 and Tosh was murdered in 1987.

Apr 18 2011 | Read Full Review of The Natural Mystics: Marley, ...

The Guardian

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"History lies just beneath the surface of life in Jamaica," observes Colin Grant, and his biography of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston – the founding triumvirate of the Wailers – proves as much an attempt to pin down the island's tangled past and slippery character.

Feb 06 2011 | Read Full Review of The Natural Mystics: Marley, ...

The Guardian

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I & I: The Natural Mystics, Marley, Tosh and Wailer by Colin Grant Buy it from the Guardian bookshop Search the Guardian bookshop In fact, the society that produced...

Feb 19 2011 | Read Full Review of The Natural Mystics: Marley, ...

Publishers Weekly

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In this well-researched biography, Grant takes a fascinating journey through Jamaican history with a focus on the lives of the three young men who would become the reggae sensation, The Wailers.

May 16 2011 | Read Full Review of The Natural Mystics: Marley, ...

The Telegraph

In the Seventies, when albums such as Natty Dread and Exodus made their way into millions of record collections previously impervious to reggae, their front covers proclaimed that they were by “Bob Marley & the Wailers”.

Feb 13 2011 | Read Full Review of The Natural Mystics: Marley, ...

The Bookbag

Summary: An account of Bob Marley and the Wailers, with particular emphasis on the lives of Marley, Tosh and Livingston, set against the background of Jamaican culture, politics and faith, from their beginnings to global acceptance and eventual decline.

| Read Full Review of The Natural Mystics: Marley, ...

Scotsman.com

The book starts with an ill-advised trawl through 20th century Jamaican history - fine for a book about 20th century Jamaican history, but not the best 50-page opening for a book purporting to be about Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of The Natural Mystics: Marley, ...

Islington Tribute

WHEN Peter Tosh was told of Bob Marley’s untimely death via a transatlantic telephone line there was a long silence before he said, “Well, it just so… At least it leave a little space for all of us to go through now.” It was a cold response even for someone dubbed “Stepping Razor”, betraying the ...

Feb 03 2011 | Read Full Review of The Natural Mystics: Marley, ...

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