|volume 5 * issue 1 * November 2000|
FOUR YEARS COMPLETE AND STILL GOING- This Wailers News update for November 2000 begins our fifth year in doing the webpage, and trying to continue the Wailers' works and messages. After completing four years so far, one of our hopes for this site is that you realize that The Wailers were not just a one-man group, but rather a culmination of brillant singers and players since the early 1960s. The livication that The Wailers had, and that many of its members continue to struggle in getting across, is what this site is all about, and will continue to be in the future. Our hope is that just as we are students of The Wailers, that this site will teach you as well, and hopefully you will pass this knowledge along to others, so they too can experience the everlasting force of The Wailers!
A VERY SPECIAL WAILERS' DAY- October 7th, 2000 was not just an average cold fall day in Boulder, Colorado, because this was the day that a near Wailers reunion was destined to take place. The Boulder One World Benefit Jam, which took place on the 7th and 8th of October at the Boulder Reservoir, was to be the location where Bunny Wailer, Andrew Tosh and Ky-mani Marley would unite together on the same stage, or so we thought. The outdoor event never reached above 40 degrees throughout the first day, but no amount of bad weather could keep Wailers fans from viewing the near on-stage reformation of the Wailers trinity. The concert started over 2 hours late, forcing the ensuing acts to cut their sets dramatically, because there was a 6:00 pm curfew due to the fact that the reservoir has no overhead lighting.
Andrew Tosh opened the show with the legendary Fully Fullwood Band backing, which consisted of members from Peter Tosh's second incarnation of the famed Word Sound and Power band, including Carlton "Santa" Davis on drums, Tony Chin on rhythm guitar, Keith Sterling on keyboards, and George "Fully" Fullwood on bass, as well as another extremely talented lead guitarist. Andrew was also backed by a female harmony singer, who also did a tremendous job complimenting the rest of the band. Andrew's set lasted under an hour in length, but he managed to emanate the power and energy that his father demonstrated during his own lifetime. Andrew performed the standard set that many have become accustomed to, including fantastic renditions of "Pick Myself Up," "Not Gonna Give It Up," and "Equal Rights." But to see these covers played so lovingly by the band and Andrew himself were anything but standard. Andrew also wailed on two of his original tunes, "Original Man" and a tribute to his father on "He Never Die." The cold weather did not seem to phase Andrew or the band, as they were simply hot on the afternoon. It was amazing to bear witness to such legends who have played a huge part in shaping reggae music, as well as the son of the legendary Peter Tosh.
Ky-mani Marley was up next after a short setup change, with his tight backing band warming up the crowd with a rendition of "Eastern Standard Time." Ky-mani appeared and began with "Sensimilla," his version of George Michael's "Faith." As we have said on these pages before, hearing Ky-mani on record or disc is one thing, but seeing him in person is quite another experience. His backing band is made up of younger musicians, but they play with the same intensity as a veteran band. Ky-mani sang some songs from his "The Journey" album, including "Emperor" which incorporates segments of Bob Marley & The Wailers' "Zion Train." There were outstanding versions of "Fell In Love" where the keyboardist took the part that Peter Morgan plays on the album version, dueting with Ky-mani. Ky-mani of course paid tribute to his father with renditions of "Nice Time," "Screwface," "Thank You Lord," and a moving cover of "Turn Your Lights Down Low." Many of these covers are songs which most groups paying tribute to Bob Marley rarely touch upon, so it was a special treat to hear them. Just as Andrew Tosh pays special tribute to his father with "He Never Die" an original composition, Ky-mani Marley also has a touching tribute song with "Dear Dad."
Ending the night was Bunny Wailer & The Solomonic Reggaestra, along with the legendary Psalms. On this night, The Solomonic Reggaestra consisted of even more legends, including "Dizzy" Johnny Moore and Bobby Ellis on trumpet, Harry T on percussion, Dwight Pickney on guitar, Keith Sterling on keyboard, and others. The band opened with "Rockfort Rock," a song which "Dizzy" Johnny Moore composed many years ago, and was followed by The Psalms singing "Satta Amasagana" and "Red Rose." We really wish that The Psalms would be able to do more songs in concert, as this group, formerly known as The Gaylads, is a truly talented group of singers and deserve to be heard. Bunny hit the stage next for what would be a shorter than normal set for him, well under two hours. He remained true to the list of songs he usually performs in concert, including great versions of "Blackheart Man," "Battering Down Sentence" and "Dreamland." Of course, one of the highlights of the show occurred midway through Bunny's performance when during "No Woman, No Cry," Ky-mani Marley joined onstage to duet with Bunny. By the end of the song, both men were in tears, wiping drops from their eyes as Ky-mani exited the stage. "Legalize It" was next and Andrew Tosh joined Bunny on stage for another emotional tribute to the late Wailer, Peter Tosh.
It was simply overwhelming to see Bunny Wailer reduced to tears by the simple power of the reunion of a Marley and Wailer. While Bunny, Ky-mani and Andre, never all united together at the same time on stage, bearing witness to the two duets between Wailer and the two sons of Wailers, was, simply put, breathtaking and certainly an event to remember. This was our third time seeing Bunny Wailer perform live and with each concert more magic reveals itself. The small crowd that stuck out the freezing outdoor weather were easily warmed by the livication that took place on this special Wailers day. Below are the complete setlists for the three acts:
BUNNY WAILER WAILS IN CALIFORNIA- After Bunny Wailer's date in Colorado, he then headed to California for a series of shows, including stops in Santa Barbara, Anaheim, Santa Cruz and San Francisco. Luckily, a huge Wailers' fan, Terry Lee Lewis, attended three of the four shows and gave her valuable feelings/reviews of them. What follows are her comments and many thanks to her for sharing them! The below picture of Bunny Wailer also features Terry Lee Lewis' son, Robin.
If, after seeing Bunny Wailer appear at the Sun Theatre in Anaheim October 10, one should best have advised whoever was in the vicinity to: RUN, don't walk, or better yet fly - if at all possible, in any way, shape or form, to either Palookaville, Santa Cruz October 13, or Maritime Hall October 14, with Andrew Tosh & the Nyabinghi drummers in SF). These each proved to be events never to be forgotten for a lifetime!
Firstly, Bunny defies the usual descriptions. He does not merely "do concerts" - he Wails, emotes, dances and flies around with unbelievable energy and precision. He teaches, prays and uses incredible spiritual faith to create faith-filled music of unsurpassed caliber. Having said that, it was clear that Bunny is a complete genius, also One of the Original Wailers - the three who really were pastors of the reggae world - Livingston, Tosh and Marley!
There, right in front of one's eyes, most undeniably, were all the innovations and components of the Three Legendary Wailers! Realizing there were ten years of this togetherness PRIOR to the years of solo work Bunny did later, (21 CDs to date), it staggered the imagination.
As Bunny finally alighted the stage, he beamed appreciatively at the enthusiastic reception. He immediately and lavishly showcased his Founding Wailer status at once. We were collectively stunned at the strength of his presence and persona, combined with, as he reiterated himself, "the other two Wailers who are only not here PHYSICALLY!" Then paying warm tribute to "all the reggae people", he rounded everyone into one family and proceeded to deliver his all into his messages.
Bunny's vocal delivery was by turns soulful and enchanting, and his heartfelt confidences to the audience as to how much he loved them charmed all. His "Jah Rastafari!" invocations called Peter strongly to mind; this honoring of his two fellow Wailers was most meaningful to all present as he paid them great musical and verbal tribute.
Bunny delivered an incredibly strong spiritual message throughout. Then - voila! He changed from the "Reggae Emperor's vestments" into a dancing suit, replete with silver trim at the cuffs, and went at this for quite a vigorous duration. Then - out jumped another dancing entertainer to join the majestic Solomonic Reggaestra,(replete with many of reggae's notable musicians from the likes of the Skatalites), and the historic Psalms. Bunny held each crowd in the palm of his hand for the duration of each show.
This was clearly dealing with someone so evolved that he seemed in an otherworldly realm. Later, when asked if he would be returning soon, Bunny looked sideways and smiled most mysteriously, saying, "don't worry, I'll be in touch!" True to his reputation, his mystical qualities were certainly in full force on each of these occasions!
Bunny later mused that he had been sent to do this work right now, and felt he MUST get these messages across to the people; the youth in particular. He reiterated that his latest release - on Solomonic - "Communication" has "seventeen tracks, all with the Message most vital of the Millennium". He hoped everyone would be able to find it because "I made it for all of you to have personally, and it's very special".
"We only take time out till we all get together to do this again here and - eternally!" He reached out, waving, blowing kisses to the fans with "I love you"....he won the hearts and minds of the crowd with his intensity.
Bunny was given to reflecting, on another level...each song sequence was a strong movement of its own. Bunny himself seemed not like an ordinary being you would converse with on just any topic at any given time - in other words he exuded a priestlike presence, taking the time to let the effect of the music become part of the listeners' consciousness.
An artist and performer absolutely devoid of artifice -with an ethereal beauty of soul & form...his face was aglow...he knew exactly the effect he was having, and he seemed to enjoy himself immensely. We were in the presence of Bunny Wailer - the effect was as if the Northern Lights had suddenly appeared!
It emotional enough to see these qualities on the "Catch a Fire" VHS, with the Wailers' various segments, but at this point it was apparent to me Bunny had evolved even further by these performances! Roger Steffens - co-author of Bunny's upcoming biography "Old Fire Sticks" and archivist for the Wailers also emceed the concert - I can never forget his tenderness as he said softly to me, "I'm going to bring out Bunny now"..., in such a sweet and hushed tone...a gentleman who's known Bunny for years and spent much time with him, and speaks of him with quiet reverence. This told me a lot about Bunny Wailer.
These "live experiences" of Bunny Wailer worked also on the level of healing services. We witnessed a natural phenomena few but the Original Wailers could ever achieve. One viewer felt that "it was my baptism by FIRE!" It was gratifying to feel the people prayerfully whole again, as he embraced them with marvelous reggae music!
In Anaheim, Bunny danced energetically thru much of duration - calf length dreadlocks flying through the air. At the last two shows he honed himself slightly toward vocals, but still danced incredibly. The vocals up north went from perfect to sublime...
There were several impressive factors at these entirely heartfelt shows. Bunny placed all of himself into his performances with dedication and clearness of vision. With complete spiritual authenticity, Bunny is comfortable in his status as a Co-Creator of the Wailers & arguably the perfectionist/innovator of composing and arranging at their finest. Beautiful, complex productions and arrangements grace each CD - featuring perfectly crafted gems every time out.
Whatever elusiveness is necessary to preserve his complete vitality, health, stamina, vocals & vocal delivery is well worth the duration between his performances. These "events" feel so exclusive and special, and their enchantment lies in the time Bunny allows himself for creativity and spontaneity necessary to perform at the level he does. By taking such excellent care of himself he has reached the heights of his performance that make him the Reggae Legend of the Millennium.
ANDREW TOSH: HIS OWN MAN- The great Terry Lee Lewis was also gracious enough to review three Andrew Tosh performances which she attended over the past several months. The accompanying photo features Andrew and Terry's son, Robin from August of 2000. Thanks again to Terry Lee Lewis for providing the reviews!
August 24, 2000 Sun Theatre, Anaheim, CA August 25, 2000 Universal Amphitheater, Universal City October 14, 2000 Maritime Hall, San Francisco CA
1st 2 dates with Reggaeblitz tour: Toots & the Maytals, Maxi Priest, Tosh & Ky-mani Marley 3rd date at Peter Tosh Memorial with Nyabinghi Drummers, and Bunny Wailer headlining
The Peter Tosh Tribute definitely paid great honor to this great artist. Video movies went on, and stills of Peter were shown intermittently. One could obtain Tosh memorabilia and t-shirts of varying styles, which was novel! The emcee's announcements were greatly befitting the tribute at hand, and really brought peace to the memories.
ANDREW TOSH commanded incredible witness to both his father's and his own work simultaneously. Peter Tosh, who along with Bob Marley and Bunny Livingston Wailer, founded the Wailers, playing with them ten years (1963 - 1973). It is also true that Peter Tosh meant so much to so many people that seeing his son, Andrew, perform in such incredible fashion was completely overwhelming. It seems Andrew has now mastered his music with even greater liveliness in the last year. Having recorded "The Original Man"; then "Make Place for the Youth" 13 and 12 years ago respectively, they showcased Andrew's own flair for composing. Now he has showcased "Payday" and "What You See Is What You Get" for the "Reggaeblitz/All Stars" CD. Both numbers prove his original songwriting to remarkable advantage.
In addition, Andrew Tosh has forged ever onward with his father's legacy. From the initial impact of Andrew's striking appearance onstage, dressed in pure white floor length garments complete with white fringe at the borders; to his hair - a like profile of his father's - it can best be described as astonishing. Then, pulling off the headdress during the beginning of the show exactly the same way Peter had done years before, he shook his dreadlocks precisely as his father before him. Many in the crowd gasped....and many were in tears.
Andrew launched into song; setlists included "Original Man", "Rastafari Is", "Downpressor Man", "Legalize It", "Walk & Don't Look Back", "Equal Rights", "African", "Get Up Stand Up" - with the same power and verve as Peter pioneered. Not merely standing and singing - Andrew prowls around just like Peter - but he was unique too. Dancing and motioning with exuberance and precision, all were struck at the reminiscent feelings generated by the dramatic setting.
The band was very powerful; Karen, his singer, talented and personable - and has worked with Andrew since the 80's. The fine musicians delivered a dramatic sound just as strong as his father's. Andrew and company kept themselves very busy up there in the 45 minutes or so he performed; he spoke of his father's sacrifices for his work and his deep feelings for the people. Andrew put together his own set brilliantly, and it was classily presented.
The way Tosh captured the Peter Tosh message, yet infused it so heavily with his own influence, was profound. Andrew was very demonstrative to the crowd, and brought about much healing and remarkably positive effect. Having, as well, an intense, quiet persona reminiscent of Peter, he showed too a playful and ironic side, (equally representative of the great man). During "Walk & Don't Look Back" he made a fanciful play on the Mick Jagger interplay of the original version, informing us he'd already "walked enough and perhaps would ride for a while"...and proceeded to ride a unicycle around the stage a la Peter in the halcyon days!
The luminosity of Andrew Tosh really brought finesse to the World of Reggae - his imagination, ability and professionalism were the promise of a vision for tomorrow.
Later, trying myself to tell Andrew that with Peter Tosh his father and Bunny Wailer his uncle - wasn't it truly a matter of royal lineage? And he nodded in answer, thoughtfully and solemnly. Yet he is still most definable as Andrew Tosh - a man with his own clear ideas, and a personality completely formidable befitting his heritage both in music and in bringing people together.
THE WAILING WALL- Every now and then, people send us photos from past and recent Wailers family related shows that they have attended. This month we wanted to display them for your enjoyment. The first comes to us from Randy Brown, who attended a Bunny Wailer concert in San Diego in 1999. Pictured is Bunny alongside one of the outstanding singers of The Psalms.
These next two photos were taken by Mustapha Gagou, during a Wailers Band stop in France during the Puissance Rock Festival 2000 in Aubenas, France. The first depicts lead singer Gary "Nesta" Pine and guitarist Al Anderson alongside Mustapha and another fan. The second photo shows the legendary Marcia Griffiths with Mustapha.
Thanks to both Randy Brown and Mustapha Gagou for sharing these photos! If you have any great photos that you took of the Wailers family, please pass them along to us and we will put them up on the site.
VH1 REMEMBERS BOB MARLEY- Cable music channel VH1, who continues to feature Bob Marley in their various specialty shows, has again presented Bob Marley on another of their shows. VH1's "20 to 1: Tragic Losses," a show that remembered 20 artists who have passed and also made a difference with their music, featured greats like Otis Redding, Jim Morrison, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Frank Zappa, and others. For the Bob Marley segment, VH1 went all out and presented footage that most likely fans have never seen, including Bob Marley & The Wailers live in concert at their 1979 Santa Barbara County Bowl performance and interviews, choosing often for the rarer yet lesser quality footage rather than the standard good quality materials that are readily available.
A special Bunny Wailer interview highlighted the segment, where Bunny commented, "I know that Bob, was designed, created to do what he did for the benefit of people and of a future." Unfortunately the segment listed Bunny Wailer simply as a "Reggae Artist," rather than as a bandmate and someone who was very close to Bob throughout his life. The narrator stated about Bob Marley, that he is one of the "most charismatic and challenging performers of our time. His music exposed the harsh realities of racism, encouraged activism, and spread a message of good will around the world." Andy Summers, the guitarist for The Police, was also interviewed hailing Bob Marley as the "Jamaican Bob Dylan." Bunny Wailer went on to say about Bob, "We got to always remember Bob Marley and credit that's due him will always be given. And nothin' can change that!" For more information about the show in general, visit VH1's "20 to 1" section on their website.
Here are some snapshots from the Bob Marley segment:
THE UNIVERSAL RIDDIM OF PER TJERNBERG- There is a brand new album from the fantastic Swedish record company entitled Rub-A-Dub Records, that is sure to be a treasured item among dub fans and Wailers fans alike. The album, "Universal Riddim," from Per Tjernberg is a culmination of sounds from around the globe, based around the backing of dub music. Listen after listen, offers further proof that this album is really unique because of the seamless and perfect blend of musics from Africa, India, Jamaica, Arabic, Cuban, and America, among many other reaches of the world. The term "world music" is often used to group together everything that is outside of the western world, yet with "Universal Riddim," there truly is a world music happening on the disc, which is unbeatable.
The album features 11 tracks that treats both the ears and the soul. Here is the tracklisting for "Universal Riddim":
This album is special for many reasons. First off, the disc features what one might call ambient dub mixes of Peter Tosh. This was very exciting to us and to hear not simply remixes of his songs, but for Per Tjernberg to incorporate Peter Tosh's own spoken words on both "Word, Sound And Power" and "Word, Sound And Power (Reprise: The Little People)" is powerful and incredibly creative. Per Tjernberg interviewed Tosh in 1981 in Stockholm, Sweden, and a few short clips of this are used on the disc. The instrumentation surrounding Tosh's words on these two songs is stellar, featuring Tjernberg playing such instruments as the Pygmy flute, ballaphone, melodica, clay pot and others, and also includes the Arabic oud, as well as drum master Style Scott, of Dub Syndicate. At times it sounds like straight drum and bass reggae dub, but with the addition of these worldly instruments, the songs are catapulted to global music that can be appreciated by fans of any genre. Tosh's speech is complimented perfectly with Tjernberg's visionary sounds for something Tosh himself would have definitely approved of.
Of course, there are nine other outstanding tracks on the disc, that flow perfectly into each other. It is as if Tjernberg puts the listener on a cloud and floats the listener around the globe and as they pass different countries, certain instruments and sounds from these places are delicately added to this most appealing of recipes. All of the songs have as their base dub-reggae, but for instance the opening track, "Frog Song," incorporates a natural atmospheric feeling with real frog sounds and chanting that was recorded in Benin, West Africa. The album is peaceful music, with the ability to soothe and calm.
Per Tjernberg was at the forefront of Swedish reggae and an innovator in other aspects as well. He has worked with artists like Don Cherry and Dr. John, and was a member of Sweden's first reggae band, Peps Blodsband in the late 1970s and early '80s. Per has won several Swedish equivalents to the Grammy award and recorded what is considered to be the first Swedish hip-hop/rap album. Some of these hip-hop elements, including scratching, are featured on "Universal Riddim." The scratching, successfully done by the Scatchaholics, on tracks like "Scratchaholics Interlude" and the title track "Universal Riddim" is so pleasing to hear alongside the African thumb piano or Nepalese hand cymbals. As the disc goes on, it is exciting to hear just what is in store in the next track. It may seem strange that these varying instruments and sounds are fitted together on each track, but the album is in fact a montage of musics, all harmoniously existing as one, just as the listeners of the disc should be. Each track stands apart from the others, yet at the same time they build one another, so that in the end, a true universal riddim has been achieved.
One might be asking with all of these sounds, the disc must sound cluttered; but in reality the music sounds as if they all should have gone together before. Per himself said that the album's goal is "finding out how this music is all connected, all part of the human soul." This disc easily warrants pages upon pages of examination because it is so unique and amazing, but in a few short words, if you are a fan of dub, and want to hear some of the freshest and innovative sounds around, then Per Tjernberg's "Universal Riddim" is a must own! We cannot recommend this album enough.
Rub-A-Dub Records is also planning a re-release of Iya Karna & The Wailers' "Inkarnation" album, which features such luminaries as Aston "Familyman" Barrett, Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths, Earl "Wya" Lindo, Earl "Chinna" Smith, Bobby Ellis, among many others, as well as some of the last recordings done by the late Carlton Barrett. Needless to say, this is another album that Wailers' fans will absolutely enjoy. (You can read The Wailers News' review of "Inkarnation" in the October 1999 back issue, found in the "back issues" link). The disc is scheduled for re-release sometime in early 2001. If you want to purchase Per Tjernberg's "Universal Riddim," or get more information on the label in general, you can contact Rub-A-Dub Records at the following places:
Rub-A-Dub Records AB Tjrhovsgatan 44 S-116 29 Stockholm Sweden Tel Office: +46-8-6411339 Tel Studio: +46-8-6411313 Fax: +46-8-7149179
BUNNY WAILER: A POLITICIAN?- Are you down on politicians and politics in general? Well, the one and only Bunny Wailer has recently announced the formation of his very own political party in Jamaica, entitled the United Progressive People (UPP) party. The Jamaica Gleaner printed the story on October 26th, for what appears to be a positive change in the corrupt world of politics. Below is a reprinting of the entire article, outlining some of the philosophies Bunny and his party have planned. One key feature is that the party desires Jamaican singers and musicians to head the party. There are no better people to serve the Jamaican public than those individuals who educate, stimulate, and enlighten through their music. Thanks to Ras Adam for informing us of this news!
Bunny Wailer Starts Political Party by Andrew Clunnis (Jamaica Gleaner)
Veteran singer Bunny Wailer has announced the formation of a new political party which, he is convinced, can resurrect Jamaica. Wailer said the charter of the United Progressive People (UPP) party would be published shortly in newspapers and that he would be offering himself as a candidate for Member of Parliament in the next general election.
"If it is the people's will that I be selected to a position with responsibility for making certain decisions, I will definitely respond," he said.
The main tool of mobility of the UPP will be music of a revolutionary and educational nature and its core members will be those singers and musicians who have used music over the years to effect change in the country, said the singer.
"The emphasis will be on a musical campaign. The songs are there and there are many more to come, but we will find a way to get people to listen and accept the message," he said.
Lamenting the state of the education system Wailer said that "if we continue to raise the young the way we are doing, we are heading for more disaster. The young people today don't seem to have the capacity to understand what is going on around them and determine their future," he said.
On the matter of ganja legalisation, Wailer said it was time for the herb to be decriminalised.
"Ganja is not only for smoking as some people would have you believe. But this is something that is needed by the people medicinally and otherwise...We can solve Jamaica's economic crisis through the manufacturing of hemp-based products."
We want to know your feelings on Bunny Wailer's formation of a new political party in Jamaica. This month's Wailers Survey deals with this very topic, so drop down lower on this page (or the main page of this site) and cast your vote and leave your feelings.
GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN- Over the month of October, the reggae world lost four legendary people, Morris "Blacka Morwell" Wellington, co-founder of the influential Morwells, Garth "Tyrone" Evans, one of the founders of the fantastic Paragons, Hortense Ellis, sister of Alton Ellis and a talented singer in her own right, and Winston Grennan, who many consider created the One Drop beat. They will certainly be missed and are great losses if you are a fan of any type of Jamaican music.
Blacka Morwell, who passed away on October 12th, co-founded The Morwells with Eric "Bingy Bunny" Lamont in 1973, and together they released several groundbreaking albums, demonstrating powerful songwriting and musicianship. The Morwells recorded such classic songs as "Kingston 12 Toughie," "Bit By Bit," "Reggae Party," "Cut Them Down" and "We Waan Go A Yard." Blacka Morwell was a co-writer and producer of The Morwells' music and did the vocals on most tracks. You can read more about the life of Blacka Morwell by visiting the Reggae Vibes' special tribute to him. If you want to hear more of his talents, pick up albums like "Kingston 12 Toughie: A Tribute To Bingy Bunny" on RAS Records, which collects many of the greatest Morwells songs.
Garth "Tyrone" Evans, who passed away on October 19th, was a founding member of The Paragons, who are easily one of the best rocksteady groups ever. Tyrone Evans co-wrote some of The Paragons' most well known songs, like "Riding On A High And Windy Day," "I'm A Worried Man," "I Wanna Be With You" and "The Tide Is High," as well as singing on some of the greatest rocksteady songs, including "On The Beach" and "Wear You To The Ball." Other Tyrone Evans songs you might be familiar with include "Follow You" and "If This World Were Mine." The Paragons incorporated smooth soul and rocksteady harmonies, and together with John Holt and Harold Barrett (Bob Andy was also an early member), The Paragons recorded for Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label, Coxson Dodd, Derrick Harriott, and Winston Riley, helping to define what rocksteady was. After the break-up of The Paragons, Tyrone Evans recorded for the Wackies label, Leslie Kong, and others.
Hortense Ellis, who also passed away on October 19th, has often been referred to as "Jamaica's First Lady of Song" because she was one of the first female singers from Jamaica to achieve success. She was of course the sister of Alton Ellis, whom she frequently dueted with on songs. She also worked with singers like Johnny Clarke and many others. You can read the Jamaica Gleaner's article on Hortense, which details her career, as well as her life.
Winston Grennan, who passed away on October 27th, was one of the originators of the One Drop beat and worked with some of the biggest names in Jamaican music, including Jimmy Cliff, The Melodians, Toots & The Maytals, and The Wailers, as a member of Dynamic Records' studio band. In later years, Grennan formed his own band called Winston Grennan & The Ska Rocks Band, putting out several albums, including the recent "Ska Rocks Band," which included songs like "Domestic Violence" and "Tribute To Don Drummond," and also the album "Clean Slate." Throughout his career, Grennan also worked with musicians like Paul Simon, Eric Gale, Kid Creole and the Coconuts and Dizzy Gillespie. You can read The Jamaican Observer's article for Winston Grennan, and also visit the Ska@About.com tribute page, which includes sound clips and biographies for both Grennan and Hortense Ellis.
We would like to extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of these giants, as well as thanking them for all the incredible music they provided over the years. If you have a chance, pick up some music by these artists as you will not be disappointed!
WAILERS SURVEY RESPONSES- We have again received some very interesting results for the monthly Wailers Survey. Last month's question dealt with whether you thought Bob Marley & The Wailers' "Legend" album is representative of Bob Marley's career. Elizabeth Barraclough sent us her opinion and shared some of her personal experiences with one of the people responsible for remastering many Bob Marley & The Wailers' songs to CD. Elizabeth is an accomplished singer/songwriter in her own right and has also released several albums and worked with such music legends as Paul Butterfield. Here are her feelings:
Regarding the question of "Legend" I think a few things must be considered. Every time a recording passes through one or more set of hands--beginning with the original artist and producer and engineer and mastering lab--something of its original integrity is lost. "Legend" was compiled and released after Bob Marley's death. Although I do not have a copy of it specifically, I have all the original Marley & the Wailer LPs and there is a difference between them and the subsequent CDs that were issued. The CDs were all redigitally mastered by Rob Fraboni, who, when I rode with him for weeks on a tour bus in 1979 and endlessly played the new LP "Survival", did not register any prior recognition of Bob Marley and the Wailers' music. So to have him selected as the person to digitally remaster everything (and remix some things as well) was a definite shock to me (especially when Family Man Barrett was still very much alive!). You could liken it to someone buying a first edition of say "Das Kapital" by Karl Marx versus someone who buys a compiled anthology of all his written works: It gives the uninitiated an introduction and link, but can never compare to the original.
Here are some of the other intriguing responses on both sides of the issue:
Not even close. The song selection on "Legend" doesn't do justice to Bob at all. An album such as "Natural Mystic" is a better representation.
I believe that the "Legend" album represents the legacy of a legend of music and of prosperity of life and religion.
It's the songs that did the best on the charts, not the songs with the deepest meanings. Think if Bob compiled a dozen songs to sum up his career.
No because it has mainly love songs and the more popular mainstream things. I don't think it gives you a full perspective of Bob Marley.
I think Marley's music is much more diverse than the songs represented on the "Legend" album and that it shows very little of his spirituality & roots.
Bob Marley's "Legend" album can't fittingly represents Bob as an artist because his work can't be represent at only one album.
It does not represent all aspects of his writings and teachings. I can count the number of times a reference to Jah is made in the lyrics on the album.
Of course it did it open the eyes on many young people.
Bob was a legend. That album was merely a pop hits album. Though all Bob's songs are wisdom.
The "Legend" album is a tree, Bob is the complete jungle.
For someone who does not know many Marley tunes this is a great starter, but he has much, much more to offer.
Good tunes on the album, but there are so many others that it is unfitting to call this album a "best of," because the man offers much, much more.
Of course, 'cause any of his records are- it's his work therefore they fittingly represent him just perfectly!
Hopefully this dialogue was helpful to you, because it definitely let us see both sides of the issue!
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NEW RELEASES- One of the most essential reggae albums to ever come out is The Rastafarians' "Orthodox." Up until recently the album was only available on hard-to-find vinyl, that is until the band's lead singer, Haile Maskel, re-released the album on disc. You can now purchase the CD version for around $10 from Haile Maskel's section on mp3.com.
The group had its base in Santa Cruz, California in the early 1980s and included The Wailers' Constantine "Vision" Walker, who is referred to on the record as Ras Vision I, singing and playing guitar. Other members included bassist Herb Daly, who is now with Root Awakening, and Ras Tony Moses, who performed with Spearhead for several years. "Orthodox" is definitely an album all reggae fans should own, as it delivers top-notch roots reggae with conscious lyrics and great songwriting and musicianship.
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WAILERS SHORTS- Be on the look-out, because possibly coming to a store near you in the future will be the first Bob Marley action figure. According to recent reports, Todd McFarlane, creator of such things as the "Spawn" comicbook, and his own line of action figures from movies to sports figures and music icons, is planning on creating a Bob Marley figure. McFarlane already has created figures of Alice Cooper, Janis Joplin, KISS, and Ozzy Osbourne. Would an action figure of Bob Marley further his message or further fill the pockets of the interested parties involved? Only time will tell.
The issue runs over 50 pages in length, and should be available at most reggae-related stores. If you cannot track down a copy, you can e-mail Full Watts' creator, Steve Milne. Definitely pick this issue up, and put in a subscription to enjoy the zine year-round! You can also find more information about the zine by visiting the Full Watts website, which includes Steve Milne's Top-10 lists.
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JUST A PASSING GLANCE- On a recent VH1 fashion special, model Naomi Campbell was featured and it was revealed that her first television appearance was in the video for Bob Marley & The Wailers' "Is This Love." This is the footage and pictures where Bob Marley is surrounded by children at a staged birthday party. The video was filmed at a UK school that Campbell attended. She stated that she was afraid to talk with Bob Marley because she thought he had worms in his hair.
The article also includes pictures of a Peter Tosh dubplate as well as the sleeve for the plate. Although the article never specifically mentions anything about the Tosh dubplate on the Dynamic label, the songs in the picture include "Mark Of The Beast," "Legalize It," and "Vampire." The December 2000 issue is on newsstands now, and you can find more information about the magazine at www.vibe.com. The picture at the right is the Tosh dubplate featured in the article.
"'The ultimate reggae recording of all time.' - All-Music Guide. The revolutionary genius' first album with his famed female backup, the I-Threes, features the infectious jam "Lively Up Yourself"; his heart-rending ballad "No Woman, No Cry" and the defiantly political "Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)." And those are just the first three cuts on this hit-packed masterpiece. Also "Bend Down Low"; "Talkin' Blues"; "Revolution"; "Rebel Music (3 O'Clock Roadblock)"; "So Jah Seh" and the title cut."
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WailersNet- The great UK reggae radio DJ, David Rodigan, now has his official website up and running. If you head over to www.rodigan.com, you will be able to eventually listen to interviews he has conducted with the likes of Dennis Brown, Bunny Wailer, Bob Marley, and many other reggae related greats. The page will also have exclusive songs and much more. If you cannot get through to www.rodigan.com, you can also try this alternate address. Do yourself a favor and visit the official site of one of reggae radio's pioneers.
The Rebirth Of Tosh Tosh's Son Happy
Thanks again to Ras Adam for help with this story.
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WAILERS SURVEY- The results are in for October's Wailers Survey, asking Do you think that Bob Marley's "Legend" album fittingly represents Bob Marley as an artist? Some very interesting results indeed!
Here are the complete results for October's poll:
This month's question asks, "Do you think Bunny Wailer's UPP party will have a positive effect on Jamaican politics?" If you have additional comments about this question, please leave them when you answer the question. We will have these results next month as well as an all new question! All responses are anonymous and thanks for taking the time to answer the survey!
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GOT THE NEWS FROM A WHISPERING TREE- Have you joined The Wailers Reporter yet? If not, you've already missed over 50 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!
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