Volume 1: Issue 4: April 2001

Welcome to the fourth update of wailers.co.uk. Each month we plan to bring you news and opinions of the Wailers and associated affairs, with regular contributors offering articles and reports from around the world.

click for distant drums

Aston "Familyman" Barrett has finally put the legal cogs into motion in an attempt to get his share of the Marley legacy restored to him. In a lawsuit filed in the US, Fams is laying his claim to authorship of certain tracks, and hopes to have his name installed where he feels it belongs. While in the UK 2 years ago, he mentioned that he would seek his rightful reward "in due season"; it would now appear that that season has arrived:

PRESS RELEASE-March 1, 2001 London, England
Aston "Familyman" Barrett, the legendary bassist, producer and arranger with Bob Marley and the Wailers has retained a New York and London counsel in an attempt to prevent the continuous and systematic degradation of his and the Wailers role in the Bob Marley legend. According to counsel, people associated with Bob Marley, his estate, and record company have been raising Bob Marley to the level of a Rock-n-Roll icon, have neglected Mr. Barrett, his deceased brother, Carlton and other members of the Wailers to little more than glorified side men. To set the record straight and to recover what may amount to be tens of millions of unpaid songwriter and artist royalties, Barrett has sought legal counsel.

Stu Levy of the firm Eisenberg Tanchum & Levy, the Barrett's (Wailers) U.S. lawyer, previously represented Danny Sims in his copyright lawsuit against the Bob Marley Estate. In that case, it was attorney Levy who discovered that Rita Marley who had forged her name to transfer the stock certificates of Bob Marley Music, to herself. Also representing Aston "Familyman" Barrett and the Wailers is English lawyer Chris Hutchings of the Charles Russell firm, which represented Bunny Livingston Wailer in his successful multi-million dollar suit against the Bob Marley Estate.

At the press conference, both lawyers discussed in detail the multiple legal claims that Aston "Familyman" Barrett and the Wailers have against the Bob Marley Estate and Island Music. Stating in the press conference, attorney Stu Levy disclosed that both Aston "Familyman" Barrett and his brother Carlton Barrett signed a 1974 Island Record contract with Bob Marley for the record Natty Dread which then broke Bob Marley and the Wailers internationally, Levy stated that neither Aston "Familyman" Barrett nor Carlton Barrett had received any record royalties from any Bob Marley and the Wailers record since the death of Bob Marley. Additionally, Levy commented that both Barrett brothers were "partners" with Bob Marley as they constituted the other half of the group "The Wailers". Futhermore since the beginning both brothers had never been paid songwriters or publishing income for the several songs they wrote for multiple Bob Marley and the Wailers records.

Despite the lack of significant financial compensation for their major contributions (they wrote, played, produced and arranged all the songs with Bob) to the international success of Bob Marley and the Wailers, the straw that broke the camels back was last weeks U.S. Grammy lifetime achievement award which was given to only to Bob Marley and not to the entire group "The Wailers". Citing recent multiple examples where "The Wailers" had been intentionally and systematically eliminated from recognition with Bob Marley, the lawyers made their case that someone involved with the Estate was trying to delete the Wailers importance in the hugely successful career of Bob Marley and the Wailers. Additionally, it was pointed out that there were several examples where the Barrett's songwriting credits were changed and given to Bob Marley. In the 2000 Island Records release of Chant Down Babylon, the song "Rebel Music" written by Aston "Familyman" Barrett originally recorded for Natty Dread, was credited to Bob Marley.

English lawyer Chris Hutchings said the facts suggest there are several legal claims available to Aston "Familyman" Barrett including copyright,defamation, and breach of fiduciary duty. Hutchings explained that under English law, as it pertains to the entertainment business, record companies and publishers have a fiduciary duty to pay their clients. Hutchings cited an English case involving Elton John where the court wrote "there was a fiduciary obligation on the part of the Defendants (the Publishers) to account properly for royalties received".

What is at stake is tens of millions of dollars as Bob Marley is one, if not the biggest, selling catalogue artist in the history of recorded music. Furthermore, later this month Island/Universal plans to re-release the entire Bob Marley and the Wailers catalogue to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Bob Marley's death. It was explained that Aston "Familyman" Barrett had attempted, in the last several years, to work directly with the family of Bob Marley to work this out, but they refused. Commenting on this action Aston "Familyman" Barrett stated that, "Bob was my best friend and my partner and I loved him dearly. We wrote songs together and produced music together that today still touches the heart and soul of everyone around the world. Upon hearing all this today, I know Bob must be rolling over in his grave. But today I am left with no choice but to stand up for my rights and insist on collecting, what I worked my whole life for and what I am rightfully owed."

The Wailers featuring original members Aston "Familyman" Barrett, Al Anderson, and Earl "Wya" Lindo are currently on tour in America and plan to tour Europe in May and June.

Partner specializing in Entertainment and Media Law at London based law firm Charles Russell. The firm acted for Bunny Wailer in obtaining for him and Peter Tosh's estate $2 million from the Marley Estate.

We are talking about one of the biggest selling catalogue groups in the History of popular music, with an estimated 250 million units sold. The value of this is put at hundreds of millions of dollars. What is at stake is a substantial share of that sum and all future money from the re-released catalogue, which could be worth tens of millions of pounds.

We are now actively preparing for a claim to recover sums due, and to be due, to Aston "Familyman" Barrett, and also to protect his reputation, given that he was an integral part of the whole "Bob Marley and the Wailers" story.

Our claim is expected to include the following:

Breach of fiduciary duty:

This is one of the most important elements of our proposed claim. English Courts have developed over many years an approach to the law whereby an aggrieved party is entitled to look to the Court of Equity in circumstances where he has not been treated in a fair manner. There is case law to back up our claim. I quote from Elton John's 1986 successful claim against his publisher.

It was found "there was a fiduciary obligation on the part of the Defendants (the Publishers) to account properly for royalties received".

"Commercially, the copyright agreement was in the nature of a joint venture and the writers would need to place trust and confidence in the publisher over the manner in which it discharged its exploitation function".

"Nor did the failure to complain for so many years make it unconscionable for the Plaintiffs to complain".


There appears to be a powerful claim in copyright in respect of the songs written and also contributed to by Aston "Familyman" Barrett. There has been a failure to attribute this work to him, which is a clear infringement of moral rights.


Despite his huge contributions to "Bob Marley and the Wailers" there has been a systematic exclusion of Aston "Familyman" Barrett explicitly in terms of the failure to credit him with his work and more generally the re-writing of history to remove his name from the credit of the works. The Courts have had a long history of protecting artist treated unfairly in this way, relying upon principles of fairness. There are a number of questions of great importance, not only in financial terms but also in terms of reputation and the history of one of the major bands of modern music, which must be answered satisfactorily, in the interests of fairness.

On April 17th 1987, Wailers drummer Carlton Barrett was tragically slain by a gunman as he made his way home. 14 years after this sensless killing, we remember the King of the one drop.

Carlton, the younger brother of Wailers bass player Aston "Familyman" Barrett, was born in 1951 in Kingston, Jamaica. The brothers began toying with music in the mid '60s Aston on a home made one string bass, and Carly on paint tin "drums". Eventually they progressed, and called themselves the Soul Mates or the Rhythm Force, before putting together the Hippy Boys band, who featured Max Romeo and Glen Adams amongst others.

The Barrett's first studio session was on the Uniques classic adaptation of Stephen Stills' "For What It's Worth", prophetically re-titled "Watch This Sound", which launched them on a long and illustrious musical career.

Sessions with Lee Perry and the Wailers eventually led to the Barretts leaving Perry's houseband the Upsetter's to join the Wailers full time. The rest is history.

Carly had a distinctive sound and style, that not only set standards for others to follow, but also became the archetypal example of reggae drumming. To this day his work is still copied and heavily sampled. Through his recorded legacy, and the fond memories of his fans and peers, Carlton Barrett lives on.

The re-issue of the Wailers 1973 Island Records debut arrived in the shops on March 26th. Contained in the neat plastic slipcase is a fold out digipack containg 2 CD's; the first the unreleased "Jamaican mix" of the album, and the second the version issued in 1973. Also included is a booklet featuring photos of Bob and the Wailers, a 5 page essay from Richard Williams, and song lyrics to all the tracks. The booklet cover is a reproduction of the later Island sleeve, with Bob drawing on a spliff, whereas the outer digipack recreates the original "Zippo" sleeve.

The first disc is the main draw for most fans, not only containing previously unheard raw versions of the album tracks produced by the band in Jamaica, but also 2 songs that never made the final cut. Although both High Tide Low Tide & All Day All Night have been previously available, it's good to have then finally placed in their correct home.

There are also some stunning alternate vocal takes, featuring previously unheard lyrics. In Concrete Jungle, Bob sings "concrete jungle, burning asphalt burns my feet", whilst in No More Trouble comes the observation "they say we don't need another little hungry mouth to feed, but I'd would say on the double, we don't really need no trouble".

Vist the Django! Ska Rocksteady & Reggae site for a full review of this great release.

To follow up the Catch A Fire release, the next release in the re-issue project will be an expanded version of the Wailers second Island album Burnin'. Expected in the shops around May, the re-issue will be feature 3 bonus tracks; No Sympathy, Reincarnated Soul and The Opressed Song. It is unclear whether No Sympathy will be the same as the cut featured on Peter's Honorary Citizen boxset, or whether Reincarnated Soul will be the demo or the version released on the b side of Concrete Jungle in 1973.

Also due in the re-issue campaign is a new 20 track compilation titled "The Ultimate Bob Marley". At the time of writing no track listing has been revealed, but the collection is said to boast one "unreleased" track. It has been suggested that this will be "I Know A Place", although recent rumour has suggested that this may be changed to "She Used To Call Me Dada".

Another Bob Marley release for April may be less well received by his fans. JAD records have announced that "Sugar Sugar", the Archies hit recorded by the Wailers in 1970, will be given a modern remix and issued on single.

The single is a sampler for a new album, "Shakedown : Marley Remixed Vol.1" which features remixes from Alex Natale, Steve Hurley, and the infamous Funkstar Deluxe, whose version of Rainbow Country is among the 14 tracks featured. All the songs featured were originally recorded during the 1967-1972 period, for which JAD controls publishing.

You can check a sample of the remix on the JAD Records website.

The flow of new albums continues with a brand new release from the sorely missed Peter Tosh. Columbia/Legacy will issue "Live And Dangerous", a document of Peter's rootsy live show at the Warner Theatre in Boston, Massachusetts on May 22nd 1976. The setlist features tracks from the "Legalize It" album, as well as "400 Years", "Stepping Razor", "Mark Of The Beast" and "Babylon Queendom"

Also on the horizon is yet another compilation, rather lamely titled "Superhits", which collects together tracks from Peter's first two solo albums, and an acoustic set, taken from Peter's appearances on US radio.

Bunny Wailer celebrates his 54th birthday on Tuesday April 10th. Following his partnership with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh in the Wailers in the '60s and early '70s, Bunny has continued to spread his messages through his successful solo career, taking in a variety of styles along the way.

Last year heralded the release of Bunny's 23rd solo album, "Communication", and future projects include a documentry film (see last months news update) and the long awaited biography "Old Fire Stick".We would like to wish Bunny many happy returns!

The Wailers Band folow up their US tour dates with a month long tour of Europe throughout May. You can catch Fams, Al, Wya and friends at the following gigs:

May 1 - De Montfort Hall - Leicester, England
May 2 - The Junction - Cambridge, England
May 3 - Exeter University - Exeter, England
May 4 - To Be Announced - Dublin, Ireland
May 5 - Trinity Hall - Bristol, England
May 6 - Forum Theatre - Billingham, England
May 7 - The Concorde 2 - Brighton, England
May 8 - Blackheath Concert Hall - London, England
May 10 - Z7 - Pratteln, Switzerland
May 20 - Cap d'Agde, France (also w/Bruno Blum & Dub De Luxe)
May 26 - Hirschensallel - Biel, Switzerland

Also on the road in May is Kymani Marley, who makes an extensive tour of France. You can catch him on the following dates:
May 1- Le Splendid, Lille, France
May 2 - Terminal, Nancy, France
May 3 - Le Vapeur, Dijon, France
May 4 - The Rail, Lyon, Franc
May 5 - Le Moulin, Marseille, France
May 6 - Theatre Du Verdure, Nice, France
May 7 - Omega Live, Toulon, France
May 8 - Rockstore, Montpellier, France
May 9 - Le Bikini, Toulouse, France
May 10 - Rockschool, Bordeaux, France
May 11 - Le Zeenith, Paris, France
May 12 - La Trocardiere, Nantes, France
May 13 - Chatue D'Eau, Blois, France
May 15 - Exo7, Rouen, France
May 17 - Palais De Fetes, Epernay, France
May 18 - MJC, Annemasse, France
May 19 - Hall Ossau, Pau, France
May 20 - Salle De Fetes, Clermont, France
May 22 - Le Magique, Grenoble, France
May 23 - Mega Cites, Amiens, France
May 24 - Fonderie, Caen, France
May 25 - Salle Saphire, Pontivy, France
May 26 - Gymnase, Trez, France
May 27 - Astrolab, Orleans, France
May 28 - Salle Fetes, Le Bourget, France

Island Records founder Chris Blackwell was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York on 19th March. U2's Bono was on hand to induct Blackwell in the none performer category, and joined Melissa Etheridge and Mary J. Blige to perform "Could You Be Loved",and "Get Up Stand Up" described by some viewers as the "worst cover versions ever".

Our good friend and website contributor Alvaro Gaynicotche now broadcasts a show dedicated to Bob & the Wailers every Saturday on X FM -100.3 Montevideo,Uruguay. Alvaro says "On it you will hear all that I have in my collection: original releases, demos, rehearsals, live concerts of Bob, the music of Peter and Bunny, songs of the Marley family and related, my extensive list of rare covers and a special section: "The roads of Creation" with Sam Cooke, Curtis Mayfield and things like that (influence for Bob) and new reggae too!!!

"One of the greatest thing about the show is that X FM is broadcoast on the Internet, so that you can hear it from all over the world, even though I must talk in spanish!! The Uruguay time for the show is : Saturday, 7:00 PM to 9:00PM.

"I hope you will share with me this adventure. People can contact me at : robertovive@portalx.com.uy
And you can hear by clicking "X FM"" on this site:
www.todoradio.com/uruguay.html where you can find a little clock with Uruguay time (and weather :-) :-)"
¡Roberto Vive!

April 22nd will mark the 23rd anniversary of the One Love Peace Concert. This historical show took place at Heroes Park Circle in Kingston, Jamaica, with Bob and the Wailers and Peter Tosh among the star studded line up. Peter's incendiary set, which featured uncompromising speeches, was released last year by JAD.

Bob's set peaked with him joining the hands of political rivals Edward Seaga and Michael Manley during a stuning performance of Jamming. The concert marked Bob's long overdue return to Jamaica after his self imposed exile following the 1976 Hope Road shooting.

Another anniversary marked this month is of the Zimbabwe Independence concert, which was held 21 years ago, on April 18th 1980. Bob and the Wailers played 2 shows at the Rufafro Stadium in Harare. The first was at the ceremony marking Zimbabwe's independence, attended by Prince Charles who is reputed to have wanted to meet with Bob.

During the bands performance, police launched tear gas canisters into a crowd trying to enter the stadium. This blew back onto the stage, and Bob and the band were forced to leave until it cleared. Another free concert was staged the following day (19th), and it is footage from this that is seen in the various Marley documentries

Previous Updates:
Number 3, March 2001
Number 2, February 2001
Number 1, January 2001

Please visit these Wailers/reggae sites:

The OFFICIAL Wailers website: www.wailers.com

www.bobmarley.freeserve.co.uk     Django! Ska, Rocksteady & Reggae

http://robertnestamarley.free.fr     The Wailers News