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Published: 2017/08/30
by Larson Sutton

Roger Steffens
So Much Things to Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley

Though he’s the focal point of over 400 pages, Bob Marley appears only ever so briefly in Roger Steffens’ So Much Things to Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley. Instead, Steffens allows for nearly 80 others with connections ranging from family and bandmates to friends and journalists to offer their memories of the international reggae superstar. Cumulatively, this produces a broad, yet painstakingly detailed and sometimes conflicting view of not only who Bob Marley was but what Bob Marley was, as well. Steffens has devoted over half of his own 75-year life to the pursuit and acquisition of all things reggae, amassing the largest private archive of reggae music, interviews, and ephemera in existence. Known and universally respected as the genre’s voice of authority enables the author not only access to all of the key players, but also their trust to share with him their truth. Critical choices Steffens makes in his introductions and asides, as well as transcribing responses in native Jamaican patios, lend both a contextual backdrop and helpful guidance. Not only does he avoid the colonizing of language and culture for the sake of an audience, he acclimates the outsider with a more complete and honest understanding of its subject. Do not come to this book expecting to hear from Bob Marley much more than a few answers, but do come expecting many of the answers to the life and legend of Bob Marley, as Steffens achieves the rare combination of insight and analysis with engrossing entertainment and myth (busting and perpetuating) that makes the revolutionary Jamaican musician an infinitely worthy topic.

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