BOB MARLEY by Bruce W. Talamon


Spirit Dancer
Email this review


 Talamon's duotone photographs capture Jamaican reggae star Bob Marley (194581) with a rough humanity that comes as a relief after Steffens's hagiographic text. Steffens (a journalist who contributes to Reggae and African Beat, among other magazines) describes Marley's Jamaica and the peacemaker role he tried to play there between political factions and their loosely affiliated street-gang surrogates, his pan-Africanism, and his music career. But he adopts the tone of one writing the lives of the saints: ``As long as there are the downpressed among us, the exploited and disenfranchised, as long as lovers need words of comfort and reassurance, as long as there is a God who is worthy of praise, then shall we rejoice in the words and works of Bob Marley. Long may he live!'' The Rastafarian Marley was indeed seen as more than a musician or entertainer by his most loyal followers. A strangely messianic figure, Marley had the role of prophet thrust upon him, and he accepted it. The photographs, however, show Marley exhausted, Marley with a joint in his hand, Marley ecstatic on stage, Marley with a joint in his mouth, Marley explaining pan- Africanism to Africans in Gabon, Marley thoughtful, Marley clowning, Marley very, very stoned. They achieve greater distance from Marley than does the text. As a result, they not only are more interesting but also convey more powerfully a sense of Marley's genuine charisma.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1994
ISBN: 0-393-03686-3
Page count: 128pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 1994