Over one dramatic decade, a trio of Jamaican R&B crooners, Peter Tosh, Bunny Livingston (Wailer) and Bob Marley, swapped their 1960s Brylcreem hairstyles and sharp two-tone suits, for 1970s battle fatigues, dreadlocks and Reggae, to become one of the world’s most influential groups.
From youth to early adulthood, they had been inseparable; united in their ambition to “make it” in the music industry. On the cusp of success, however, they were pulled apart by the elevation of Marley as ‘first among equals’, and by the razor sharp instincts of Chris Blackwell, the shrewd and charming boss of Island Records.
Following their trail from Jamaica through Europe, America, and back to the vibrant and volatile world of Kingston’s Trench Town, Grant travels in search of the last surviving member, Bunny Wailer. He unravels the roots of ‘The Wailer’s’ charisma, their adoption of Rastafari, and their quest to become not just extraordinary musicians, but also natural mystics.
Reviews of I & I: The Natural Mystics – Marley, Tosh and Wailer
“Grant’s original and stylish second book… is really cultural history, a portrait of Jamaica’s astonishing rapid transition… This brilliant book is not just about Jamaica, but about ourselves, no longer the country of the King’s Speech, but a post-colonial nation.” – The Guardian
“He has you smell the open sewers of Trench Town, and feel its deprivation…. Joyfully literate and philosophically penetrating.” – Mojo
“Colin Grant has approached a well-worn topic… in a lively and different way… the bigger picture is painted in rewardingly colourful, often revelatory detail.” – The Metro
“Grant is skilled at peeling away layers of history.” – The Observer
“In a land of talkers and tall tales… Grant’s solution is to paint an impressionist portrait… alternating passages of documentary background and contemporary living colour to build up a breathing picture of their world… By the end, the three central characters… are more vividly portrayed than in any previous biography.” – The Telegraph
“Grant’s study… is as thorough as it is possible to be.” – The Scottish Sunday Herald
“Biographies of Bob Marley are legion… but this intelligent study… offers something more… mixing detailed research with eyewitness accounts. The book focuses more clearly on the early days… [and is] full of insights and revelations.”