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Video: Author John Masouri on Reggae

I recently conducted a Zoom interview with reggae authority John Masouri. When it ended, I said goodbye and moved to the always dramatic step of seeing if the conversation actually was recorded. At this point I always tell myself that invariably the technology works flawlessly and it’s a happy ending.

TDMB Speaks with John Masouri

  1. John Masouri and The Daily Music Break Discuss Reggae, Part 1 26:13
  2. John Masouri and The Daily Music Break Discuss Reggae, Part 2 23:43
Not this time. The video was just not there. I thought I had nothing. It was very unpleasant. Hours later, I was lucky—very lucky—and recovered the audio. It’s to the left, in two parts. I’m sorry I lost the video because John had a nice setting. But the most important part somehow survived.

I am telling this story for a reason: During the period when I thought all was lost I emailed John with apologies for wasting his time (or so I thought). His response was straight-forward: No problem, he indicated. We can do it again. So this small story is basically a thank you. Small kindnesses such as that seldom become public.

In addition to reporting for various print and online publications and writing liner notes, Misouri has written several books: “Wailing Blues: The Story of Bob Marley’s Wailers,” “Rebel Frequency: Jamaica’s Reggae Revival,” “The Marley Files: One Foundation,” “Steppin’ Razor: The Life of Peter Tosh,” “Simmer Down: Marley – Tosh – Livingston” and “Omnibus Wailing Blues – The Story of Bob Marley’s Wailers.” John’s website is here and a link to “Rebel Frequency” at Amazon is here.

John Masouri, left, with the late Bunny Lee.

I was especially upset at potentially losing the interview because it contains (glad I can use the present and not the past tense) great information. What struck me as I chatted with John is that each era and genre has its own deep history. I grew up as a rock and roll fan, with particular focus on The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna and other west coast bands. Having lived through it all, I know a fair share and have a good sense of which end is up: Who played with who, how the various bands relate to each other, how excited to get when some new tidbit of information or music appears and so on. It would be very hard, if not impossible, for somebody jumping in decades later to master it all. It also wouldn’t make much sense.

It was fun and interesting to listen to John describe the relationship between Bob Marley and the other Wailers and the tension that developed over the years and hear him rattle off names that are second nature to him but new to somebody who likes reggae but only knows about Marley, Peter Tosh and perhaps a couple of others. John knew these folks.

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