Roots, Rock, Reggae presents a street-level perspective on the reggae music scene during a very important period in the evolution of reggae music. In the late 1970s, police and thieves battled in the street, politicians struggled for power and reggae musicians fought for peoples' souls. Featuring performances by seminal reggae greats from Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff to the Abyssinians and Jacob Miller, this is the only documentary on the evolution of reggae and a must for reggae's legions of fans. 60 minutes.
Fans of 1970s reggae are sure to rejoice at the chance to hear Jimmy Cliff and Joe Higgs talk about their music, to see hyperkinetic producer-musician Lee "Scratch" Perry at work in his legendary Black Ark studio (with Junior Murvin, the Heptones, and the Upsetters), and to enjoy the lively sounds of the Mighty Diamonds, Ras Michael, and U-Roy in concert. Fans of Jamaica's best-known musical export, Bob Marley and the Wailers, may be a little disappointed, however, because the documentary includes only a couple of brief performance clips--though, granted, even momentary glimpses of Mr. Music at his peak are better than none at all.
This 1977 installment of director Jeremy Marre's 14-part Beats of the Heart series also features early black-and-white footage of Jimmy Cliff and Toots & the Maytals in concert, the Gladiators in the studio, and the Abyssinians, Third World, and Inner Circle in rehearsal. Scenes of Kingston street life are interspersed with the performance footage and interviews to illustrate the narrator's claim that "Reggae music is much more than entertainment in Jamaica today. It's a powerful social force that mirrors the pressures of everyday life, putting them into words and rhythm--describing, revealing, persuading." --Kathleen C. Fennessy
- ROOTS, ROCK, REGGAE (DVD MOVIE)