News ŠThe Wailers News
volume 4 * issue 2 * December 1999

this month's features: 
wailing news * new releases * wailers shorts
wailers net * wailers survey * wailers reporter * back issues

Joe Higgs   Joe Higgs, considered to be the "Godfather of Reggae," is recovering and "resting comfortably" from radiation therapy for cancer. We wanted to do a special story to send our best wishes to Joe Higgs for a quick recovery and hopefully for all of you reading this, you can do the same.

   Joe Higgs played a huge part in molding a certain group of teenagers' voices and careers, who would later become The Wailers. But Higgs has done so much more in his career and in the progression of Jamaican music, that many people might not know about. Higgs' musical career started in 1958 with Roy Wilson as the duo known as Higgs and Wilson and had several hits for producers Edward Seaga (later the Prime Minister of Jamaica) and Coxson Dodd, among others. In the early 1960s, Higgs began tutoring The Wailers and the Wailing Souls, to name just a few of the tremendous acts he has touched with his talents.

   Joe Higgs, as quoted in The Rough Guide to Reggae, states that The Wailers "weren't singers until I taught them. It took me years to teach Bob Marley what sound consciousness was about, it took me years to teach The Wailers."

   One of the interesting facts about Higgs is that he is credited as being the writer to one of Peter Tosh's slogan songs, "Stepping Razor." Peter Tosh said in the late 1970s that, "Joe Higgs was a brother amongst The Wailers for years. He was encouragement, and he inspired us and kept us together" (Reggae Routes).

   Higgs not only had a huge influence on other artists but his own music in itself is extraordinary! Albums like "Life Of Contradiction" and "Unity Is Power" demonstrate his vast talents. If you've never seen him in person, the recent VH1 Peter Tosh "Behind The Music" special featured a short Joe Higgs interview clip! This brief story and glance at Higgs' life does not do justice to his many accomplishments, both in the past and those yet to come, so hopefully you will explore his music further.

   Special thanks to Anna Fisher, who is a close friend of Higgs, for providing Joe Higgs' update as well as some addresses where you can send letters of encouragement, support and prayers, via his two daughters Marcia and Angela.

Marcia Higgs P.O. Box 75404 Los Angeles, CA 90075 phone number = (323) 957-4663 e-mail = Angela Higgs-Barrett (876) 926-3068 (in Jamaica)

   We want to send our best wishes to Joe Higgs, one of music's most underappreciated artists!

Peace   A brand new single from Bruno Blum's Rastafari Records, distributed by Patate Records, is about to be released with artist Buffalo Bill using a classic Bob Marley riddim. The single (RAS 03) features a new version of Bob Marley & The Wailers' "War" sung by Buffalo Bill and with the backing riddim redone by The Wailers Band and other special players. The B-side of the single is an original song by Buffalo Bill entitled "Warmongers," also using the redone "War" riddim.

   This new single follows two other 7" releases from Rastafari Records, the first, "War" (RAS 01) which includes Haile Selassie's October 4, 1963 speech to the United Nations put over the "War" riddim, with the dub version "Peace" on the B-side. The second single, entitled "War/Selassie Is The Chapel" (RAS 02), includes Haile Selassie's "War" speech in a virtual duet with Bob Marley singing "Selassie Is The Chapel."

War/Selassie Is The Chapel   Bruno Blum comments about the newest single that, "Despite their obvious interest and unanimous acclaim, because of their spoken nature the 'novelty' "War" versions featuring the original Selassie vocals often can't hold very long on the turntables of a sound system. Culture-enclined selectors familiar with that recording will therefore find an answer with this fresh fully-sung version of the Bob Marley classic, which includes the instantly recognizable intro featuring H.I.M. Haile Selassie I's voice as well as Bob Marley's statement 'Peace- Rastafari is the Prince of peace' found on the previous "War" versions."

Peace   Buffalo Bill was supposed to become a member of The Wailers Band in recent years and is also a close friend to the Marley family. His "War/Warmongers" songs address "a world where over fifty lamentable wars are fought right this minute," Blum notes, and adds that within the song and "among articulate bomb and machine gun sounds, it features Buffalo Bill's singjay vocals (a mixture of DJ style and soul reggae style) warning of the increasing amount of warmongers today that they "will have to pay."

   The singers and players on the new single are:

Buffalo Bill : lead vocals
Haile Selassie I, Bob Marley : sampled vocals
Earl "Wire" Lindo : organ
Aston "Family Man" Barrett : bass, electric piano
Bruno Blum : guitar, backing vocals
Tatiana Prus : backing vocals
Michael "Mikey Boo" Richards : drums
Norbert "Ranking No" Nobour : afuche, tambourine, bongo, bell

   These singles are not anything like the over-hyped "duets" and "remixes" released by certain companies in recent months. Instead, these singles are the genuine article, with a lot of heart and passion put into creating them. To order you very own copies of the new Buffalo Bill single or any of the other Rastafari Records singles, send an e-mail to Bruno Blum ( for more information. They are well worth the money for such a quality and excellent product!

   Ky-mani Marley recently finished up his tour of North America with great reviews throughout. We had the pleasure of seeing Ky-mani live in concert on November 11th at the Fox Theatre in Boulder, Colorado. All of the reviews that we have read from his recent tour state that his live performance far exceeds his album "The Journey," and we second this notion.

   The night started with Ky-mani's opening band, Lavaska, performing their unique blend of reggae-folk-rock. It was interesting to say the least! After about an hour-long set, Ky-mani Marley took the stage.

Ky-mani Marley   Ky-mani is really one of the most talented members of the Marley family with his ability to step into dancehall, hip-hip or reggae modes, without skipping a beat. His set began with the great "Sensimilla," which is a reworking of George Michael's "Faith." Never letting down the pace, Ky-mani performed the highlights from his latest album and gave them an entirely new rootsier sound and feel on songs like "She Fell In Love With A Rastaman" and "Country Journey." The standout songs of the night were most definitely his emotional tribute to his father in "Dear Dad" and a short Wailers medley, which included "Nice Time," "Hypocrites" and "Screwface."

   Not to be outdone by his music, was his great dancing ability. At one point in particular, Ky-mani addressed the crowd saying that most people say that the Marley's only know one dance, and he went ahead and proved this wrong. He granted the crowd a one song encore and after the show, Ky-mani even jumped down off the stage and went into the audience, who welcomed him with handshakes and requests for autographs.

   Ky-mani is quite a performer and even if you don't like his album "The Journey," you should give his live show a chance when it comes to your area. It was definitely a great show!

   His short tour of Germany has been cancelled but hopefully he will be back out on the road soon, coming to a stop near you!

   Now that 1999 is almost over with, it's no better time to look back over the past year of what the best Wailers related releases were. These are the releases that we believe are absolutely crucial and should belong in every Wailers' fan's collection:
  • Destiny: Rare Ska Sides From Studio One (Heartbeat) - killer doo-wop ballads, ska scorchers and soul soothers, most of which have never been released on CD before. This disc includes songs with Constantine "Vision" Walker and the late Junior Braithwaite, both of whom are rarely mentioned as members of The Wailers. The disc is worth it alone for the beautiful doo-wop-esque "I Need You So" with Bunny Wailer on lead.

  • Wailers and Friends (Heartbeat) - The Wailers in a supportive mode, backing some of Jamaica's greatest singers. Among them: Delroy Wilson, Bob Andy, Ken Boothe, Jackie Opel and Lee Perry. Also heavily features Constantine "Vision" Walker who offers his angelic singing voice to many of the tracks.

  • Complete Bob Marley & The Wailers Part 3 (JAD/KOCH) - The third installment of this absolutely essential collection, highlighting more of the Wailers' stint with Lee Perry and many of their self-productions on two dynamic discs. Also included are many of the rare versions to Wailers classics. Even though they weren't released in 1999, Parts 1 & 2 should also be on your shelves as well, as they truly are a complete look at The Wailers from 1967 to 1972.

  • Bunny Wailer - Dubd'sco Vols. 1 & 2 (RAS) - A true Wailers' related dub album, done by Bunny Wailer himself. Previously unavailable on CD for nearly 20 years, the disc is dubtastic.
  • Finally, some honorable mentions that you should also own:

  • Bob Marley - Songs Of Freedom (Island DefJam) - The long out-of-print boxset, now re-released, featuring some incredible tracks, especially the acoustic hotel recordings.

  • Aston "Familyman" Barrett - Cobra Style (Heartbeat) - The Wailers' musical director and bassist doing some production work for other acts, as well as some B-sides to BMW singles. The song "Distant Drums" on the disc, features Bob, Peter and Bunny on percussion!

  • Rastafari Records singles (Rastafari Records) - Make sure you own these three singles (see related story above). Truely livicated releases with a Wailers touch.
  •    Looking ahead to 2000, should see the releases of Bunny Wailer's "Communication" album and Junior Marvin's "Burnin' Love," both of which will be great additions for fans. It should really be a Wailersenium to look forward to!

    (return to this month's features)

    Sun Is Shining (Palm Pictures)   Yet another Bob Marley remix is out in stores now, and this time Chris Blackwell has his hands on it. The single features several remixes of "Sun Is Shining" coming shortly after the success of the Funkstar DeLuxe remixes of the same song, a few months ago.

       Blackwell's Palm Pictures released the single in late November and was remixed by the Ibiza All Stars and the Messy Boys. You judge for yourself about your feelings on the song, by heading over to and viewing the video there.

    Sun Is Shining (Palm Pictures)   Be on the lookout on February 25th, 2000 for the soundtrack to "Third World Cop," a new movie from Palm Pictures. The soundtrack includes The Marley Brothers featuring the Ghetto Youths Crew doing "Call The Police," most likely a cover of the classic Ini Kamoze song. It also features artists like Sly and Robbie, Beenie Man and others. You can find more info about the film and the soundtrack at the film's official site.

    (return to this month's features)

    WailersNet - 
       Saturday, December 4th will see the taping for the TNT special "One Love: The Bob Marley All-Star Tribute," which will then air on the TNT cable network on December 19th. On the 4th however, you can head over to the special "One Love" page that has been set up, and chat live with some of the performing artists, as well as getting a glimpse of the goings-on backstage. The television promos for the event have already been airing on TNT, and feature a short interview with Ziggy Marley.

       Sadly, there are not that many reggae artists on the roster, with the exception of Jimmy Cliff and the Marley family. To take a positive look at the artist lineup though, the show will feature Busta Rhymes and Ben Harper. To get a full look at the line-up as well as sweepstakes information, biography, discography, and even send special "One Love" e-postcards, visit the offical site!

       There has been a lot of press recently regarding the "Chant Down Babylon" duets album (which is the companion to the TV special), especially the fact that the album is on Billboard Magazine's Top 100 albums, currently at #97. The video for Lauryn Hill's duet with Bob on "Turn Your Lights Down Low" has also been airing on MTV and other music video stations, so look for that as well.

    (return to this month's features)

       The people have spoken (well, at least some of them) and the results from last month's Wailers Survey are in. The results to the question of "Do you consider the recent slew of Bob Marley remix material worthy of carrying the Bob Marley name?" show that, no, most people do not think so. 58% of you said that these recent remixes (the "Sun Is Shining" songs and "Chant Down Babylon" album), are not something that will further Bob Marley's name in a positive manner.

    November Results

    This month's question asks "Which period of The Wailers' career do you like better?" If you have a Java capable browser you can respond to the question. We will have these results next month as well as an all new question!

    (return to this month's features)

       Have you joined The Wailers Reporter yet? If not, you've already missed 35 e-mailings, packed full with reggae news, new reggae web pages, tour dates, and much more! But it's never too late to join, so fill in your name and e-mail address below to become one of an irie list of people! It's 100% free, and we won't give/sell/trade your name to anyone else!

    Enter the information below:


    (return to this month's features)