Search I-Reggaenation

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Prospect man's large collection honors Bob Marley

Joe Jurgensen's Prospect basement looks like the reggae section of a record store.

Walls are lined in framed prints and albums by Bob Marley and the Wailers. Shelves are lined with plastic crates filled with records and CDs. But keep looking and there's more.
Over the years, Jurgensen has amassed tens of thousands of items promoting Bob Marley, including a salt shaker in the shape of Marley's head, hundreds of books, vinyl records, eight tracks and even a couple of skateboards bearing his likeness and shoe horns etched with his name.
As a kid growing up in Chicago in the '80s, Jurgensen, 35, listened to a lot of rap music. But one year he got a Ziggy Marley cassette tape for Easter, which introduced him to the world of reggae.
He learned of Bob Marley from his son's music, and he became a serious collector after reading an article about another collector in People magazine.

Since then, he has searched garage sales, eBay and flea markets to find authentic posters and other original promotional materials that are the pride of his collection.
Jurgensen tries to collect only images of Marley smiling, not smoking. In part it's because his collection shares space in the basement with his children's toys, but he said a lot of what he refers to as "herb pictures" is "junk stuff from state fairs," while much of the official promotional materials didn't feature him smoking.
Most of his Marley-related items are on display or in storage in his basement at his home in the Fox Harbor neighborhood in Prospect, where he lives with his wife, Sarah, and their three children.
He is always happy to give friends and other Marley fans a tour of his collection while sharing his knowledge of Marley's life and music.
"Admission is free, the way Bob would like it," he quipped.
He'd like to curate an exhibit or even open a museum, though his attempts to do so thus far have not made it very far.
A book he published in December, "Bob Marley: The Complete Annotated Bibliography," has had better success, with 300 copies sold on, "which is about 295 more than I ever expected," he said.
While he's happy about the sales, he's even happier that Roger Steffens wrote the foreword to the book.

Steffens is the man featured in the People magazine article, and is also known for having the largest reggae archive in the world.
The two men are now friends, joined by their love of all things Marley.
When asked which item Jurgensen would save if his house were on fire, he said: "I think about that almost every single day."
His answer is a binder full of tour programs because many are rare and hard to find.
But he loves it all -- his trading cards from Israel, books in Japanese, his stamp collection, binders full of postcards and newspaper clippings.
His dog is even named Nesta, which was the first name given to Marley at birth, but he later switched it to his middle name.
Jurgensen plays in a reggae band called Jahcoustic that has put out two CDs inspired by Bob Marley and the Wailers.
His next goal is to get a full-color coffee table book featuring images from Marley's concert posters.
But music and memorabilia aside, it's Marley's message of hope that Jurgensen finds most important.
"His main message is 'one love,'" he said. "There is no better time in our history for a message like that than right now."
"His music will live forever," Jurgensen said. "I'm just doing my part to continue spreading the message."


Post a Comment