Back Issues of the Wailers News October 1998
Back Issues of the Wailers News
"DREADLOCKS IN MOONLIGHT" -
While most people were relaxing on their Labor Day weekend (September 4-7), and some had their attention focused on a baseball player going for a record, we were experiencing a life-changing event. What was this event? It was seeing our very first Bunny Wailer concert, as part of the One World Music Festival in the beautiful Crested Butte, Colorado.
Our weekend started off on Friday the 4th, when we attended Roger Steffens' "Life Of Bob Marley" video presentation. This was quite an event in itself, because if the videos weren't enough of a pleasure, we got to meet Roger himself (and his wife, Mary as well). In the short time that we spoke with him that night, we could sense the true love and devotion that he has towards The Wailers and reggae music in general. What a treat it was reasoning with him! By doing this web site, we usually only get to converse electronically with the people who visit our site, however, also at Roger's video presentation, we had the pleasure of meeting Tommy Bishop, who is a huge Wailers fan in his own right. We ran into these two again and again over the next days, and it was extra nice everytime!
The musical performances started on Saturday the 5th, but we didn't attend a lot of the local Colorado groups who were stacked up at the beginning of the line-up. The first group we did see was Original P, who put on one incredible show. In case you didn't know, four of the members in Original P had been with funk-giant George Clinton for almost 40 years, starting in The Parliaments, then into Funkadelic, then into Parliament, and finally into the P-Funk All-Stars. George and the four others went their different ways, and the rest is history. Original P played classic gems from all of their funk incarnations with George Clinton, like "Up For The Down Stroke", "Atomic Dog", "P. Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)", "Testify", and many others. What a funkin great performance! Later on that night we saw contemporary bluesman Robert Cray perform. We weren't too familiar with his songs, but he gave a great and entertaining set, which also featured great solos by his fellow bandmates.
Sunday the 6th was the day we had really been looking forward to. Our concert-going day started off with running into Roger Steffens again, who then introduced us to none other than Mutabaruka, the dub-poet himself, who happened to be sitting with Roger and his wife in the hotel lobby. This was an incredible experience for us to bear witness to, by hearing his wisdom and opinions about everything from baseball to the history of Jamaican music, to his very own radio show in Jamaica. What a deep and spiritual person! After this, we went and watched Bernie Worrell and the Woo Warriors put on another super-funky show. He played a lot of his own outstanding solo material, mixed in with classic P-Funk cuts, such as "Flashlight" and another excellent rendition of "P Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up)". Later on that day, Spearhead, fronted by Michael Franti and backed by an all live band, performed to an ecstatic crowd. A lot of people look down on rap music, but Spearhead is just one of the many examples of how rap can speak positive messages. They played such songs as covers of Dawn Penn's hit "You Don't Love Me, No No No" and the Wailers' "Get Up, Stand Up". About midway through their set, Mutabaruka joined Spearhead on stage for what was, as Mutabaruka himself told us, an "untitled song". Spearhead really showed their reggae roots in this set, and once again, another fine group at the One World fest.
To round off Sunday night, it was the act we had been anxiously waiting for...Bunny Wailer, The Psalms, and the Solomonic Reggaestra. The Solomonic Reggaestra started off the show playing several classic reggae instrumentals. Bunny then came on to the stage with his full rasta clothing, including his ruby studded lion headband, which seemed to beam light rays from the partially eclipsed full moon above. Bunny started off his set by sitting down in a chair with his nyabinghi drum in his lap, for "Rastaman Chant", which was one of only a few times that he has ever started a show off with this song. He then proceeded to go into his classic songs, among them "Rastaman", "Blackheart Man" and "Dreamland". "Tonight's a very blessed night. It's a wonderful night to be alive," exclaimed Bunny, right before he went into "Love Fire". The entire night was an unforgettable one, but one such moment that stands out was Bunny's heart-wrenching rendition of "No Woman, No Cry", where he called for men everywhere to respect women. He gracefully gave tributes to Bob Marley with "Crazy Baldheads", and also to Peter Tosh with "Legalize It". When curfew for the city drew near, Bunny broke into "10 O'Clock Roadblock", a talking rendition of "3 O'Clock Roadblock", in which he stated that he was going to keep playing, regardless of the curfew. Another exceptional moment was Bunny's loving tribute to the early days, "the Wailing, Wailing Wailers" as Bunny put it, playing a medley of such classics as "Simmer Down", "Walk The Proud Land", "I Stand Predominate", and "Hypocrites". This was an incredible performance for sure!
Life-changing, magnificent, dream-like, tremendous...not enough superlatives can describe this magical night, as Bunny wailed under the bright white light of a full moon for almost two and a half hours, with the spirit of "Brother Bob and Brother Peter" shining down to him and working through him. Bunny couldn't have summed up the night better when he said at the close of his set, "I know, I know that this has been a wonderful evening. It has been a magical evening. It's been a beautiful evening."
The festival was far from over however, because on Monday the 7th, as the festival for us drew to a close (we had to drive back 300+ miles back to home), the Reggae Cowboys, from Canada, performed. They gave an outstanding set, with originals like "Cowboy Riddim" and "Hang em High", and amazing covers of Jacob Miller's "We A Rockers" and BMW's "Buffalo Soldier". Shortly after their set was over, Mutabaruka took the stage, for what proved to be a magnificant roots and dub mix. His backing band, The Skool Band, has to be one of the tightest reggae bands around, with the help of Toots Hibbert's son Horace on bass, and Desi Jones on drums, just to name a few of the members. Mutabaruka's set was filled with his classics, such as "Bone Lie", "Melanin Man", "Junk Food"and "Johnny Drug Head", among others, and he was perfectly in sync with his band throughout. The barefooted Mutabaruka, was the perfect group to end our four day musical enlightenment.
The three pictures of Jah Bunny, Mutabaruka, and Robert Cray, were graciously given to us by the beforementioned and very irie Tommy Bishop. Our rolls of film are still getting developed as we write this, but thanks to Tommy, we have some spectacular pictures for this brief review. If you're interested in getting your very own prints of Tommy's pictures (he has a lot more than these presented here), get in touch with him, because he's willing to trades his prints for your live tapes. By next month, we should have our very own pictures back, and will put up many more pictures from this tremendous festival, and it was surely one that we'll never forget!
"A MAGICAL DATE IN HISTORY"- October 19th was an incredible day in history, because it saw the birth of two legendary members of the Wailers. 1998 would have been the 54th birthday for Peter Tosh, who was born on October 19, 1944 in Grange Hill, Westmoreland, Jamaica. A founding member of the Wailers, Tosh later went on to an outstanding solo career, releasing song after classic song. In 1997, Tosh was honored with his very own boxset, "Honorary Citizen", which saw the release of many of his early Jamaican songs, live songs, as well as crucial classics. Tosh's music and message lives on today, and will continue to do so.
There's bound to be countless tributes to Tosh, both in live concert and radio form, around you, so look for them! Of special interest, is the 7th Annual Peter Tosh Birthday Celebration at the Maritime Hall on October 17th, with none other than Jah Bunny himself, and also Tosh's son, Andrew. Also WKCR 89.9 FM in New York, New York is planning a 12 (that's right, twelve!) hour tribute to him, on October 19th, from noon to midnight. If you have any questions, requests or whatever, you can contact the station's program director, Brian Linde.
Constantine "Vision" Walker was also born on October 19th, in 1950 and will turn 48 years old this year. Vision is most definitely one of the most unsung members of the legendary Wailers, despite the fact that he has been wailing since he was a child growing up in Jamaica. Vision joined the Wailers in 1966, after his involvement with Rita Marley (Anderson) and the Soulettes, as a teenager. He replaced Bob Marley while Bob went to Delaware, and helped create some of the best material in the Wailers' history, such as "Don't Look Back" with Peter Tosh on lead, "Let Him Go" with Bunny Wailer and Vision sharing lead, "I Stand Predominate" and many other treasures. Vision has remained active in the reggae scene ever since his early Wailers days, working with the likes of Melody Makers, the Rastafarians, and occasionally reuniting with Bunny Wailer for his recent tours. Most recently, Vision performed several shows in Seattle, Washington, to very receptive crowds, and is currently working on his much anticipated first solo album.
With this issue of the Wailers News, we would especially like to livicate it to both Peter Tosh and Vision Walker, who helped to create the music that changed our lives, in particular, for the better.
"THE ART OF INFLUENCE"- On October 1st the cable network, Bravo, aired a brand new show entitled "The Art of Influence", as part of their new series "Arena". The show featured celebrities presenting the inspirations that influenced them to enter the profession that they were in. Some of the segments included martial arts master Jackie Chan presenting actor Buster Keaton, singer Cassandra Wilson presenting jazz legend Miles Davis, and singer Sinead O'Connor presenting Bob Marley.
O'Connor stated that Bob Marley had an impact on not only her musical career, but on her life as well. She said at one point in her segment, "I think his music is so powerful because it comes...because he is a prophet...and everybody can see it, even though they might not know that's what they're seeing." Interspersed throughout were short live video segments from Bob Marley & The Wailers, including "Rastaman Chant" from the Capitol Records rehearsal in 1973, and a solo studio performance of "Redemption Song" from 1980. She ended the segment by performing a song of hers that was inspired by Bob Marley, entitled "This Is To Mother You", and stated "He [Marley] gives me courage to write the kind of loving religious songs that I want to write."
"The Art Of Influence" with the O'Connor/Marley segment should re-air frequently on Bravo, so check your local listings.
"LIGHTS, CAMERA, MARLEY"- The gears for the forthcoming Bob Marley movie are already in motion, as casting calls for the role of Bob Marley started in late September. The movie, directed by Ron Shelton of "White Man Can't Jump" and "Bull Durham" fame, and distributed by Warner Brothers Pictures, is expected to start filming in early November of this year. The movie is slated for release in the summer of 1999 and is as yet still untitled.
According to the Inter Press Service (IPS), the first draft of the script has been approved by the Marley family, and is what Roger Steffens (who is also a consultant to the movie) calls a "respectful piece of work". IPS also stated that, "To ensure authenticity, the producers have assembled a cast of people who knew the dreadlocked king intimately including his widow Rita, who is acting as an advisor, and Neville Garrick, former chairman of the Marley Foundation, who is a consultant."
According to the IPS, a frontrunner for the role of Bob Marley is musician Anthony Wilmot, lead singer of the Mystic Revealers, who has both acting experience and musical skill. If seeing Marley played by someone else on the big screen is a shock to you, you also might be shocked to see actors playing the parts of Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, and even Emperor Haile Selassie. With people like Steffens and Garrick being involved in the movie, it will definitely be an incredible movie, and quite a fitting tribute as well.
"WHO IS MR. ADAMS?"- The legendary Glen "Capo" Adams, is at it again. You've never heard of Glen Adams? Well, he was one of the integral members of the Upsetters/Wailers under the direction of Lee Perry, and most definitely you've heard something that he's either played on or mixed. Writer of such songs as The Wailers' "Mr. Brown", Adams masterfully played the organ, piano, and melodica, as well as countless other duties, both in and out of the studio. He is most definitely another highly underrated member of the Wailers and in the reggae world in general.
Nowadays, Adams is still working as hard as ever, and come the end of October, he'll put another album credit under his cap. This time it's "The Question" by the Slackers, an excellent Brooklyn, New York traditional ska band. The album, which is on the Hellcat Records label, features Adams' organ playing, as well as giving voice to a mummy on the song "Mountainside". Glen Adams is no stranger to the Slackers, because for their 1997 release "Redlight", he mixed several of the album's songs.
Recently, he's also been releasing classic Upsetters material from his very own vaults, for Heartbeat Records' "Upsetter A Go Go", and as Wailers-ologist Dr. Lowell Taubman tells us, Adams is working on another Upsetters collection entitled "Upsetter A Go Gold". Both of these releases compile previously unreleased Upsetter tracks with the likes of Aston & Carlton Barrett, Alva Lewis, as well as Adams himself.
You're missing out on an integral part of reggae and Wailers music if you don't own anything that Glen Adams has blessed with his talents! So what are you waiting for?
So on Monday, October 5th, be sure to check out all the new things for yourself.
It's nearly every month that we report on more Japanese Bob Marley & The Wailers live bootlegs that are being released, and this month we have even more to report. There are 3 new discs on the PID label, and each costs roughly $30.00 each. The discs are due out on October 13th. As we state every time, most have inferior sound qualtiy, mislabeled dates, wrong venues, cities and states. But if you have to have them, here they are:
- new release #1-
Timothy White's biography on Bob Marley, entitled, Catch A Fire: The Life of Bob Marley, has been once again reissued, with even more information. This newly expanded edition, published by Owl Books, includes new topics on such things as Bob Marley and the CIA, the legal battles over the Marley estate, a revised discography, and much more. If you can't find this 528 page classic book in your local bookstore, you can order it online.
- new release #2-
Tour Dates: Wailin' All Over The World- Bunny Wailer & The Solomonic Reggaestra & The Psalms
The Wailers Band
Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers
The 7th Annual Peter Tosh Birthday Celebration
Bob Marley Festival (Click here to see the official webpage!)
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