|volume 4 * issue 11 * September 2000|
COMMUNICATION TIME -It has been five years since Bunny Wailer has released an album of new material, but at long last "Communication" has arrived! A 17-track album, released on Bunny's own Solomonic/Tuff Gong record label, "Communication" is filled with brand new music that will surely please all Bunny Wailer fans. The disc features sounds that encompass Bunny's nearly 40-year career, including ska, roots reggae, lovers reggae, Nyabinghi drumming, 1980s style rap, dance music, and African stylings, all combined to make a very enjoyable album.
It is tough to put into words the excitement of listening to a brand new Bunny Wailer album, but the disc is genuine Bunny and presents all positive and conscious music. This album seems to capture more of the feeling of seeing and hearing Bunny live, moreso than previous albums. There are plenty of standout tracks on "Communication" and some of them include "Standing Ovation," a song that states the power and needed recognition of reggae music, "Legends," "Rockstone," and "Trigger Happy Kid," a song that today's youths should take head to. This album is a combination of old and new Bunny Wailer and draws on historical and biblical events and people, but also looks towards the future to such places as the internet, as in "Teeni Wappaz," with the line "Communication is the key / It's the internet."
Here is the tracklisting and cover for "Communication":
The musicianship on the album is also top-notch with such dignitaries as Ernest Ranglin on lead guitar, Lloyd Knibb and Hugh Malcolm on drums, Harry T. on percussion, "Dizzy" Johnny Moore on trumpet, Dean Fraser on saxophone, and even his own children, Abeja and Ngeri Livingston, are featured on backing vocals. The musicianship, the songs, and the messages presented on "Communication" all lend to the essentialness of this album. It will move, groove, and enlighten you!
One downside to the album is the fact that Roger Steffens' liner notes were left off of the release, despite the fact that they provide a great deal of insight and background to all of the songs found on the disc. However, if you follow the "Communication" link in the left menu section or click >>HERE<<, you can read these crucial liner notes, to act as a companion to the disc.
"Communication" is released as a special "Signature Series" which features, as far as we can tell, a facsimile autograph from Bunny Wailer, writing "One Love Bunny Wailer Jah B." In the booklet accompanying the disc is another great bit of news, namely a listing of future releases from Bunny. First, is the reissue of all his albums on his own Solomonic label, which is welcomed news to Bunny Wailer fans who have not been able to find many albums because they are out of print. Second, is the listing of a future "Solomonic/Tuff Gong All Stars" release, which should prove to be yet another gem. Finally, there is a listing of videos and books that are on the horizon, including a Bunny Wailer Docudrama entitled "Jah B The Living Legend," and also the release of his autobiography, Old Fire Sticks: The Autobiography of Bunny Wailer, co-authored by Roger Steffens and Leroy Jodie Pierson. According to the listing, the autobiography release will also include a CD version, narrated by Bunny Wailer himself.
of good things to look forward to in the near future from Bunny Wailer!
If you are a Wailers/Bunny Wailer you will not want to be without
"Communication." It should soon be at all music stores, but in the
meantime, you can order it either from the Reggae Source or the excellent Natty Rebel mailorder service. You can also listen to the album in the RealAudio format, courtesy of www.ireggae.com.
"CLIMB THE LADDER" IS HERE! -The latest Heartbeat Records' collection featuring Wailers material recorded at Studio One was released on August 8th, entitled "Climb The Ladder." In usual Heartbeat fashion, this release is another definite must-own! The album features 17 songs, including some of the rarest of the rare, namely "Lemon Tree," a cover of Peter, Paul & Mary, but more closely modeled after the Impressions' own version of the song from 1964.
What you will find on this disc is easily some of the finest Wailers' ska sides, some of which were recorded while Bob Marley was in Delaware in 1966 , and Constantine "Vision" Walker filled in. The songs are of course backed by the incomparable Skatalites, with such members as "Dizzy" Johnny Moore and Roland Alphonso. There are love ballads like "Love Won't Be Mine This Way," "I Don't Need Your Love" and "Donna," and doo wop tunes such as "Ten Commandments Of Love" and "Sunday Morning." Many of the versions contained on this compilation are vastly different from previously released versions, such as those found on the 1977 CBS Records' release of "The Birth Of A Legend" album. The song "Donna" for instance on the new Heartbeat collection features a lengthier "Dizzy" Johnny Moore trumpet solo than the one found on the CBS release. The Heartbeat version of "Donna" also features a short lead vocal segment sung by Beverley Kelso, her first and only lead as a Wailer. Other notable differences between "Climb The Ladder" and other previously available releases, include "Wings Of A Dove" and "Ten Commandments Of Love."
You will also want "Climb The Ladder" for the fact that you probably do not have some of the songs, including the beautiful Bunny Wailer-led doo wop ballad "Sunday Morning" and the moving "Dreamland," also led by Bunny Wailer, and was later redone with Lee Perry and again for Bunny's first solo album. The disc also shows the great influence of soul and doo wop on The Wailers, with covers of The Impressions' "I Made A Mistake," the before- mentioned "Lemon Tree" and "Ten Commandments Of Love," originally recorded by The Moonglows.
Do yourself a favor and go out and purchase this disc, because the compilation also boasts fabulous liner notes by Roger Steffens and Leroy Jodie Pierson, which enhance the release greatly. Here is the tracklisting and album cover:
TEMPTATION: THE HARDER THE BATTLE, THE SWEETER THE VICTORY -Independent filmmaker Richard Mitrotz and Digital Market Productions (DMP), have brought forth an exciting new short film entitled Temptation, which features Peter Tosh's "No Sympathy" as the theme music. The film, which will soon be available on www.ifilm.com, runs a little over five minutes in length, yet in this short time, vibrantly tells the story of Jesus being tempted by the devil, all set to Peter Tosh's song.
Temptation places Jesus wandering in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights, with no one and nowhere to turn, with rough, rugged cliffs and a hot blazing sun combating him. The devil appears and offers solace to Jesus by tempting him to jump off of the mountainous cliffs, which would presumably free him of his problems. This temptation is made more attractive by utilizing images of war and other horrific events to come, all in an attempt to convince Jesus he should jump. However, Jesus stays strong and refuses to give up so easily, ensuring that he will continue with his mission in life.
The film was shot in Joshua Tree National Park, which provides a beautiful and surreal desert setting, offering sublime and stunning imagery. There is no dialogue heard in the movie, only a few short words written on the screen, making the images and Peter Tosh's music come to the foreground and help deliver the message across to the viewer. It is a sign of a quality film when the music and pictures mesh so well together that one is inseparable from the other, and Temptation is just this, a quality and essential creation.
Richard Mitrotz' combination of spectacular scenery added with amazing computer effects, makes this a vivid and powerful piece of art. It seems that almost every frame in this film could be its own individual artwork. What is even more amazing about Temptation is the fact that Peter Tosh's "No Sympathy" does not simply provide background ambience for the film, but rather helps to tell the story and actually describes what Jesus is going through in his struggle. The fact that it is Peter Tosh singing the song gives further significance to Jesus by bringing all of Tosh's own strength and rebellion to Jesus.
You do not have to be religious to appreciate and grasp the message being told, because the story is applicable to all of our lives. When we are faced with a temptation to do what might seem right at the time in an attempt to save ourselves from heartache later on, we have to stay strong because the harder the battle, the sweeter the victory. The story within Temptation also has many connections with the messages found in reggae music, including staying strong and not straying down the wrong path in life. For all of these reasons, this film can be enjoyed by everyone and will enlighten us all.
Whether you are a reggae fan, a religious person, or just a fan of great filmmaking, Richard Mitrotz' Temptation is both fascinating, entertaining, and absolutely crucial viewing!
Temptation is scheduled to get its premiere on www.ifilm.com sometime early this month and is free to view. Be sure to take advantage of not only hearing a great Peter Tosh song in a film, but also a tremendously worthwhile film at that.
Here are a few screen shots from Temptation:
Richard Mitrotz and DMP can be reached at the following places:
firstname.lastname@example.org Richard Mitrotz @ DMP 887 Production Place Newport Beach, CA 92663 (949) 642-4414
THE IWAH IS NOW -One of the most obscure Wailers tracks seems to have been released in South America on a reggae collection. "In The Iwah," produced by Lee Perry in the early 1970s was tracked down by Alvaro Gaynicotche (aka Bush Teledoctor), a huge Wailers fan in Uruguay. Here is his tale of tracking the song down and a review of it:
I have been collecting Wailers items and records since 1973, buying everything I can if it was interesting for my collection. The "CD era" has made a great impact on it because I could have lots of imported material that weren't (and aren't) on sale here in Uruguay, not to mention the fabulous world of Internet and e-commerce. But I have never regretted to go to every record-shop I see, seeking for something new.
In a short "one day trip" to Buenos Aires, Argentina, I went into a small record-shop looking for some old Argentine vinyls singles of Bob Marley and I couldn't find them (I have 2-3 of them in good shape but I want more now that 'm beginning to trade with other fans). But I have bought a rare CD named "Just Reggae" because the compilation promised to be good, featuring tunes by Bob Marley, The Upsetters, Lee Perry, Horace Andy, etc.
When I read the booklet, I had a big surprise with the track 7, named "In the Laah", played by The Upsetters and credited to Bob Marley!!!!!! I couldn't listen to the track till I was back at home in Uruguay and let me tell you that it was incredible to hear a new rhythm of The Upsetters but with the Wailers' voices, including Bob!!!!
I have written Roger Steffens immediately asking what was all about this song and this is a part of his message:
"The correct title of your rare Wailers/Perry track is "In the Iwah," meaning, literally, in the hour. However, Rasta doesn't speak of your, our, their or any other words that separate: thus I & I. So "hour" spoken by a Jamaican sounds like ow-wah, which gets shifted with the impermeable twisted Rasta logic into I-wah, but still means hour of the day. It also means "in this time."
"It was recorded in a most informal way during the brief Wailers period with Scratch - August '70 to April '71, basically what Bunny calls "one of Scratch's throwaway songs, just tryin' a lickle t'ing."
The joy is invading my collection and I want to share it with you and others fans, so that this story and this clip of the song,
Alvaro was gracious enough to pass along a sound sample of "In The Iwah" for all Wailers fans to enjoy. To listen to the song, click >>HERE<<.
VH1 EXAMINES THE CONSPIRACIES SURROUNDING BOB MARLEY -Was there a conspiracy to kill Bob Marley? This very topic was discussed in the premiere episode of "VH1 Confidential," airing on the VH1 cable network. The nearly 30-minute segment on Bob Marley examined the December 1976 assassination attempt on his life, as well his death as a result of melanoma cancer. The show began airing in late August and should re-air often, and also featured stories on the rumors surrounding Paul McCartney's death while in the Beatles, among other story-behind-the-story segments.
In the Bob Marley segment, several conspiracy theorists were interviewed, as well as people on the other side of the debate, including Roger Steffens. One of the conspiracy theorists, Keidi Obi Awadu, stated, "Bob Marley's death, to this date, I believe, remains a mystery that is yet to be resolved." The show presented the idea that Bob Marley was not viewed as a threat until he began to take on a larger following around the world, and when he did, as Roger Steffens pointed out, the CIA became more interested in him. In December 1976, two days before Bob Marley's legendary Smile Jamaica concert performance, there was an assassination attempt against him, possibly backed by the CIA, as many believe.
The show then examined Bob Marley's death from cancer. Cancer of course killed him, but it is in great debate whether or not the cancer was injected into him. The conspiracy theorists believe that the CIA or other governmental agencies had varying degrees of involvement in giving Bob Marley melanoma cancer. Others believe that although these same governmental agencies would have liked to seen Bob Marley quieted, they played no part in giving Bob Marley cancer.
Keidi Obi Awadu brought up the information that by 1981, at least two doctors came forward and announced that they were successful in transmitting cancer through a virus in laboratory mice. The piece also pointed out that this cancer transmission was not limited to Bob Marley, but Jack Ruby, who shot Lee Harvey Oswald, believed he was injected with cancer. Roger Steffens stated that it is impossible to inject someone with melanoma cancer, and the medical specialist VH1 also interviewed, supported Steffens' side, by saying that the cells would have to match identically, which is only possible in identical twins, for an injection of this nature to successfully take place.
VH1 did a fantastic job of presenting both sides of this argument equally, while staying objective all the while, and allowing the viewer to come to its own conclusion. Whether you believe in the conspiracy or not, one thing is for certain, this topic will remain in much debate for quite a while!
show is very worthwhile to watch, no matter what side you believe, so
if you can, catch it! You can also voice your opinion on this topic, by
answering this month's Wailers Survey at either the bottom of this news page, or on the main page of the site!
WAILERS BAND IN DUB -Thanks to the gracious help of Bjorn "the Dread Bear ina Sweden" Ivarsson and Gerhard Thomas Kriz of Vienna, we have some intriguing information about a new Wailers Band dub album! The album, entitled "Heritage Of Dub" on M10 Records, is only available as an import to the U.S. for now, but is readily available throughout Europe. Here is what Bjorn wrote:
Its title is Heritage of Dub and the rather sparse liner notes tells us it was recorded at Tuff Gong studios in 1983. We are also told that material on the album are dub versions of tracks the Wailers originally recorded with Jimmy Riley the same year. I think this is a real great album though I think the album must have been dub-mixed much later, maybe this year.
There is no information about who did the dub-mixes and I really hope that this isn't bogus, but after listening to the album a couple of times I don't think so. One thing that made me think this maybe was a false Wailers CD were the jungleish way Carlton Barrett drums in a track called "Dub Smudge." After listening through this track over and over I have come to believe that its just a result of a heavy use of delay laid upon the snare. However, if this is not a fake it has a real heavy line-up containing Aston Barrett, Carlton Barrett, Tyrone Downie, Earl "Wire" Lindo, Junior Marvin, Lioya "Gussy" Wills, Alvin "Seeco" Patterson, Marcia Griffiths, Judy Mowatt, Robbie Lynn, Dean Fraser, Nambo and Chico.
We do not have much more information, other than the above, but the album sounds like it is definitely something you will want to pick up. The Wailers Band backed Jimmy Riley in the 1980s for live dates, so, for this and the other facts stated above, it appears that this album could definitely be legitimate Wailers Band dubs.
Here is the tracklisting and fantastic looking cover for "Heritage Of Dub":
adds that, "This is music that truly will mash up your speakers."
Thanks to both Bjorn and Gerhard for their gracious help!
STILL NO ANSWER TO MORE ACTION -As we reported last month regarding the mysterious "More Action" song with an unknown singer, we unfortunately still have no definite answer as to who its author may be. From the responses that we have received, the consensus is that, as we believed, the song is not from Bob Marley, but rather someone else.
Here are some of the responses:
Armel Plane - I've listened to the song and it isn't Bob Marley!!! I recognize the voice of Bob rather easily and here I'm sure that it isn't Bob in spite of some vocal similitudes.
Kalle - Hey I just wanna say that it's no way Bob who's singing "More Action," although it's a pretty fair song. First it's definitely not his voice and second, Bob never used such a cherry/happy arrangement on his songs, they were all more tight and aiming.
David Bartell - I think it's Bob Marley. There are a number of little vocal improvisations in here, sounding quite unrehearsed, and yet they still come off sounding like Marley. The song quality is also too good to be an imitator.
people also suggested that the song might be Calton Coffee, the former
lead singer of Inner Circle. The question though, still remains
unanswered. Give the song a listen and let us know what you think, who
is the song's singer? Click >>HERE<< to listen to the song.
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NEW RELEASES -If you are a collector of remixed Bob Marley material, there is yet another new edition to the list. This time, the 1976 song "Positive Vibration" sees new treatment by the European group, Phats & Smalls, who in the past have also done a fine remix of Earth, Wind & Fire's "September." The song is only available as a white-label promo out of the UK. No word yet as to a wider release, but it definitely is one of the better Bob Marley remix projects to date!
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WAILERS SHORTS -In the September 2000 issue of Revolution magazine, there is a listing of "The 50 Albums That Killed Rock and Got Us Dancing." At number 27 is Bob Marley & The Wailers' "Exodus" with the description reading:
Born on February 6, 1945, Robert Nesta Marley rose from humble beginnings in Nine Mile Village, St. Ann, Jamaica, to become the greatest legend of reggae music. Recorded in London following an attempt on his life, his 1977 album Exodus enjoyed massive international sales fueled by singles including "Jamming" and "Waiting In Vain," spending 56 weeks on the UK album chart.
Although Marley fell victim to cancer at the age of 36 on May 11, 1981, his influence on the face of pop music is immeasurable. In 1999, Time magazine voted Exodus "the Best Album of the Century," beating out runners-up Miles Davis's Kind of Blue and Jimi Hendrix's Are You Experienced?
Essential tracks: (6) "Jamming" - (9) "Three Little Birds"
The list also includes Michael Jackson's "Thriller," De La Soul's "3 Feet High And Rising" and Public Enemy's "It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back." The issue of Revolution should be on newsstands now. Thanks to Juan Estevez for this information!
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JUST A PASSING GLANCE -You might have missed it, but reggae and especially Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, were featured frequently on the 1980s television show "WKRP in Cincinnati." There have been posters in the background of both artists, as well as album covers and mentions by the actors, in at least five episodes that we have seen. Their posters, including some for Tosh's "Wanted Dread & Alive" album, Bob Marley's "Survival" and even one of Marley live in concert, all prominently featured around the DJ room within the radio station set. Re-runs of "WKRP In Cincinnati" are airing in syndication around the globe.
First up is a foreign film I saw called Insomnia. A lurid Hitchcock-style thriller set in Norway, the "land of the midnight sun." In it a detective is sent to investigate the murder of a high school girl in a remote town so small that the crime has alarmed the entire country. In one scene he goes to the girl's room trying to find clues. As he walks in displayed prominently on her wall is huge poster of Bob Marley.
Next, is a film called Dangerous Ground, with Ice Cube, Ving Rhames (of Mission Impossible fame) and Elizabeth Hurley. Ice Cube's character, a New York street tough, goes to South Africa to avenge the death of a family member. In one scene Elizabeth Hurley, his de facto guide, is waiting for him in a car while he reasons with a South African elder about the conditions in the country. She fiddles with the dial on the radio trying to find a good tune then finally settles on "Natural Mystic," turning it up loud. The song plays out in its entirety for the next scene.
I also saw The Jackal with Bruce Willis and Richard Gere. In one scene the main character played by Willis in an attempt to elude his pursuers sails his yacht in the middle of a regatta just outside of Chicago. Of the many yachts in the scene the most prominent is one which has Bob Marley's face emblazoned on its sail.
In The Beach, with Leonardo DiCaprio, one of the main characters sings an acoustic version of "Redemption Song," after a friend dies on the beach.
Finally, in a re-run of an episode of "South Park" about the uses of ganja, a highschool student appears wearing a t-shirt that reads, "Legalize Everything."
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WailersNet -The Reggae On The River website features reviews for both Bunny Wailer and Ky-mani Marley's performances at the festival, in early August. The site also includes some great photos of all the groups at the festival, including both Bunny and Ky-mani. You can find it all at www.reggaeontheriver.com. Also in other Bunny Wailer news, the Reggae Festival Guide website now has up Roger Steffens' outstanding "Old Fire Sticks" article, which details Steffens' journey to Jamaica to work on Bunny Wailer's autobiography.
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WAILERS SURVEY -The results are in for August's Wailers Survey, asking Do you think services like Napster hurt the artists? Some very interesting results indeed!
Here are the complete results for August's poll:
This month's question asks, "Do you think the CIA or other governmental agencies were involved in the death of Bob Marley?" 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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