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Catch a Fire

The Life of Bob Marley
Narrated by: Peter Macon
Length: 17 hrs
3.5 out of 5 stars (12 ratings)

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Summary

This is the classic biography of reggae legend Bob Marley, updated and revised for the twenty-fifth anniversary of his death. Bob Marley left an indelible mark on modern music, both as a reggae pioneer and as an enduring cultural icon.

Catch a Fire, now a classic rock biography, delves into the life of this man, the leader of a musical and spiritual revolution that continues today. The book chronicles Marley’s life and career, as well as the milieu that shaped his spiritual and political beliefs. Under the supervision of the author’s widow and with the collaboration of a Marley expert, this fourth edition contains a wealth of new material, including many revisions made by the author before his untimely death.

This new edition, factually updated throughout, chronicles Marley’s legacy in recent years, as well as the ongoing controversy over the possibility that Marley’s remains might be exhumed from Nine Mile, Jamaica, and reburied in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where hundreds of Rastafarians live. Fascinating inside information about the intrigues of the reggae music business, the dramatic rise of Marley’s musical offspring, the complex legal struggles surrounding the Marley estate, and a sweeping social history of modern Jamaica, as well as the Rastafarian religion, also make up this expanded edition.

©Timothy White. “Notes on the New Edition” by Judy Garlan (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic reviews

“A gripping biography. I enjoyed it immensely.” (James A. Michener, #1  New York Times bestselling author)
“Probably the finest biography ever written about a popular musician.” ( San Francisco Chronicle)
“White has a deep appreciation for reggae’s immediacy, hypnotic power, and contradictions…An exhaustively researched labor of love.”—Chicago Sun-Times

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

catch a fyah

loved it,a riveting book I just couldn't put down,how long shall they kill our prophets.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for JoJo
  • JoJo
  • 31-03-15

Missed the mark....

I feel badly giving this book a poor review just because the writer put so much passion into it (per the introduction). However, this book missed the mark in so many ways. The picture the author tried to paint especially in the beginning of the book is so inaccurate. I am not sure how thorough his research was but you can tell nuances of the way of life - the practices, lifestyle, day to day language, etc. was way off. The researcher either did not understand what was told to him or just plainly made up things that had nothing to do with Marley's early life. He would reference palettes for beds - the poorest people in Jamaica do not sleep on palettes. Back then the poorest people slept on proper mattresses filled with processed coconut coir. People didn't have clans in Jamaica, nor used that term. Parents would tell their children about Blackheart Man but that was because it was not unusual for little children as young as three years old to walk in clusters to school or Sunday school and this was a way to get them to avoid strangers. The concept of the Blackheart Man was not steeped in mysticism, as White presented it. Marley being psychic - never heard of that before. There were just many words and phrases and depictions of life that I know to be inaccurate and it made me wonder about others "facts" in the book. The narrator could have at least gotten with a Jamaican person to find out how some of the patois words were pronounced. The accent of course was off but I am not that picky as I know many narrators seldomly capture many unfamiliar accents well. The book took a while to tell Marley's story and there were many things included about other people that I felt unnecessary. I almost gave up a few times. I will not tell other readers not to get this book but I will say that there are many better books on Marley - not sure if in audio but at least in print.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Kev
  • 14-08-13

Interesting

Would you listen to Catch a Fire again? Why?

Probably not -. While I did find the information contained within the story somewhat riveting, at times it could be a tough listen.

What did you like best about this story?

I would never think that the Marley legacy was marred in such struggle and down right disgust. Not on Bob's part, but the people that are so fricken greedy and would stop at nothing to exploit a fellow human

Which scene was your favorite?

Too many to mention.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Not really - there was a lot of information to digest

Any additional comments?

The narrators use of certain past tense suffixes "ed" and possessives plurals "'s" was somewhat though to listen to time after time. But I would definitely recommend to a friend

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • City Hobgoblin
  • 06-11-18

Rife with inaccuracies

I am about halfway through this book, but it is becoming intolerable. It is biographical fiction verging at times on fantasy. The effort to reinforce the Bob Marley myth quickly becomes intolerable. The writing feels like the output of a creative writing class. I don't feel like I can really trust any of the information in this book. The narration of Bob Marley's journey from the country to Kingston as a little boy seems to be lifted more or less directly from the film The Harder They Come. My biggest problem (and my main reason for doubting the info in the book) is that the author seems to have no knowledge of the history of Jamaican music. As an example, in the section on Bob returning from working in the US, he notes that Rita Marley's 'You Lied' was in the charts (that's 1966), when Bob returned from the US to Jamaica. But, According to the author, Bob now had rivals at Studio One: Burning Spear (actually began recording at Studio One in 1969 or 1970), Dennis Brown (actually began recording at Studio One in 1969 or 1970), Wailing Souls (actually began recording at Studio One in 1969 or 1970), the Maytals, who the author says had just freed themselves from producer Leslie Kong (actually the Maytals had recorded many sides for Studio One before 1966, but were largely or completely finished with Studio One and had not yet really begun their string of hit recordings for Leslie Kong), and Johnny Osbourne (began recording with the Sensations in 1969 and began recording at Studio One in the late 1970s). You get the picture. The narrative jumps from 1966 to 1971, back to 1966, then over to 1970, but represents this as if it were all happening ca. 1966–1967. The 'rocksteady' recordings made for Leslie Kong were made well into the reggae era. They are not rocksteady. And, the last thing to pop up before I quit listening...Marcia Griffiths was married to Bob Andy?!? Really?! They recorded together, but this is the first that I heard of them being married. So, who cares, right? Well, it is a biography, and as such, is supposed to be at least largely based on fact (despite the caveats in the preface). Our knowledge of the history of reggae is way beyond what it was when this book was first written, but (i) the book has been revised since then, creating opportunities to correct errors, and (ii) I thought he spent so much time with Marley and the Wailers?? He never had a chance to figure out that Bob Andy & Marcie Griffiths were a singing duo but not married?? I'm sorry, this book is really not worth a read or a listen. Try 'So Much Things To Say' instead.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Profile Image for Ray
  • Ray
  • 21-04-14

A Good read

Where does Catch a Fire rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

In the middle.

Would you recommend Catch a Fire to your friends? Why or why not?

No,because the narrator's voice sounds fake & the story seems to be missing something I can't quite put my finger on.There was a lot more controversy surrounding his music than what was mentioned in this audio book.

What three words best describe Peter Macon’s performance?

Puffed-up,weird,unrealistic sounding voice.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Bob's mother visited his father's house after he had left them.

Any additional comments?

No.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • herb
  • 03-05-18

Perhaps the best biography I've ever read

This is one of the two best bios I've ever read, the other being "when giants walked the earth" by mick wall (about led zeppelin). Reason being, they both read like stories as opposed to day to day followings or extended reviews of the music (though, admittedly, I felt as though the records themselves could've been given more attention and live performances are barely covered). When the book discussed Marley's youth, I saw him as any other Jamaican boy and not the superstar he would become, he was the main character in a story and not the subject of a report as is often the case with biographies. Again, the music aspect of Marley could've received more attention, and while I personally appreciated the lengthy portions on Garvey & Emperor Haile Selassie (I am Jamaican and know little about these essential figures as my parents were christians and didn't teach me about them) I could see how it could be annoying for a less interested person, hence the four stars, but i was amazed by this book! And I can't say whether it is 100% accurate, but if they used it in court there must be something to it!

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  • Dona Omanoff
  • 23-07-15

Exceptional

Exceptional dedication and research by Mr. White fantastic writer who made Bob Marley come alive as a mystic, prophet and supremely talented singer and songwriter

1 of 3 people found this review helpful