Volume 1: Issue 12: December 2001

Welcome to the December 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.

The one thing lacking from the legendary Bob Marley catalogue is a genuine dub album. Forget the Dreams Of Freedom album, and the copy recordings from Chalawa and Delixx, what the fans have really wanted for several years is to hear the real deal, with the Barrett brothers rhythm section at the control. Although this album from French based label Tabou1 doesn't quite quench that thirst, it is the closest thing yet to appear on the market.

During the 1975 sessions for Bob's Rastaman Vibration album, guitarist Lloyd "Guitsy" Willis teamed up with Wailers Aston "Familyman" Barrett, his brother Carlton, and Tyrone Downie to record 10 intstrumental versions of Marley songs. These sessions are now widely available for the first time courtsey of this release on Tabou1, which features 10 dub mixes and 10 straight instrumentals.

Most of the material chosen comes from Marley's most famous Island period; 5 of the songs covered are taken from the 1974 album Natty Dread, 3 from the Wailers first two Island albums (Catch A Fire & Burnin'), leaving takes on Soul Rebel and Guava Jelly as somewhat surprise choices for inclusion.

The overall feel is almost like listening to a Wailers rehearsal jam at times, with Guitsy's melodic guitar leads replacing an absent Marley. There have been various attempts to recreate dub and instrumental versions of Bob's work, with varying degrees of success, but here we have the authentic Barrett brothers rhythm section at the helm, and while the recordings are not as polished as the originals it is that rawness that helps the project succeed.

Around the same time that these tracks were recorded, the Wailers also backed US singer Martha Velez on her album Escape From Babylon, that included a take on Get Up Stand Up. That recording and the ones presented here offers an intresting insight into how the band could adapt their own material for other projects.

The dub mixes presented are uncomplicated breakdowns of the guitar led instrumentals, stripping back the rhythms to drum and bass, adding a touch of echo on the snare, and simply shifting the keyboards and guitar in and out of the mix periodically. There is none of the technical wizardry that is often associated with '70s dub here; the rhythms are modestly allowed to run free, creating an uncluttered spacious atmosphere, allowing the mind to concentrate on the all important rhythm section.

The 10 dub mixes are followed on the CD by the original instrumental takes, which may seem like putting the cart before the horse, but the lack of a decent Markey dub set on the market is a major factor, and explains why this release is presented in this fashion.

"Guitsy" Willis' instrumental leads follows Marley's original melodies closely, but expands on them enough to prevent being mere copies without losing those original motifs. The guitar set up is also tastefully done, utilising a nice tone and, at times, a subtle phased effect that captures the bluesy sound Marley had favoured from his own players up to this time. Without such care and attention it could have ended up sounding like the Shadows (or the Ventures) "Play Reggae", which it thankfully doesn't.

Both Get Up Stand Up and No Woman No Cry feature snatches of backing vocals, while Lively Up Yourself re-instates the horn lick from the original Lee Perry version of the song that was missing from the later cut. No Woman No Cry also features a new cascading horn line throughout.

Natty Dread probably comes the closest to sounding like the original, but all the tracks contain the distinctive Wailers sound, and both So Jah Seh and Road Block also deserve to be singled out as prime examples.

The CD cover states that Lloyd Willis "remembers the 20 cuts were released on a very limited scale in in Jamaica in 1976", but unfortunately doesn't say in what format (album or singles) or which label they appeared, but now thanks to Tabou1, this obscure Wailers gem is now available to all.

Many thanks to Guillaume Bougard

each track featured in both instrumental and dub mixes:

Get Up Stand Up,     Natty Dread
So Jah Seh,     Lively Up Yourself
No Woman No Cry     Guava Jelly
Road Block     I Shot The Sherrif
Concrete Jungle     Soul Rebel

The good music just keeps flowing. Hot on the heels of the recent Columbia/Legacy live album and their own I Am That I Am CD, JAD Records have yet another live Peter Tosh treat in store for the new year.

January 22nd 2002 is the scheduled date for the release of Peter's performance at the World Music Festival held in Jamaica on 27th November 1982. The show features a standard yet solid setlist, with the bonus of the re-introduction of Babylon Queendom. As yet we don't know whether any tracks will be dropped from the CD issue, or the exact title of the release, but following JAD's excellent handling of Peter's material recently we are sure it will be another essential purchase for Wailers fans.

Brazilian music star Gilberto Gil has recorded an album of Bob Marley songs in Jamaica that will be released as a tribute to the reggae legend.

A spokeswoman for the Tuff Gong record company said the record would come out in early 2002. Gil spent two weeks at the Tuff Gong studios recording 12 tracks with local musicians and the I-Three's.

Gil put a Brazilian spin on several Marley staples such as Could You Be Loved, Lick Samba and Positive Vibration.

Bob met with Gilberto during his visit to Brazil in March 1980 and even went shopping with Gilberto to buy some of his records. Gilberto had great success in his home country with a cover of Bob's 1974 classic No Woman No Cry.

Following on from the release of the Exodus Deluxe album, we have learned that the selection of live recordings featured on that set may have originally been intended for a proposed live album in 1977.

Island Records recorded all 4 of the shows at the Rainbow Theatre in June 1977, as well as shows at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1976, with the objective of releasing a follow up to the 1975 Live! album recorded at the Lyceum. It is understood that the project got as far as a final master tape being mixed, but the plug was pulled at the last moment. Island Records eventually compiled the live Babylon By Bus album the following year, mainly from performances on the 1978 European tour.

The deluxe edition of Exodus features 5 live tracks from the 1st and 4th of June Rainbow shows that may have been slated for inclusion on the aborted 1977 project, while the live version of I Shot The Sheriff also recorded at the Rainbow in 1977 was belatedly released on the 12" of Redemption Song in 1980.

This month marks the 25th anniversary of the Smile Jamaica concert held at National Heroes Park Circle, Kingston, Jamaica, and the attempt made on Bob Marley's life at 56 Hope Road.

Jamaica was in the build up to a general election when Bob Marley agreed to perform at the Smile Jamaica concert, a show that was deemed to have no political overtones but appeared to place Marley in the hands of the PNP in some observors eyes. What followed however was to effect Marley in such a manner that it influenced much of the work he produced in the remaining years of his life.

Under the guard of PNP "vigilantes", Bob and the Wailers band rehearsed for the performance at 56 Hope Road while the political gang warfare continued to rage on the streets of Kingston. On December 3rd 1976, the final Friday before the show, with the security squad mysteriously absent 4 gunmen burst into the house where Bob was peeling a grapefruit in the Kitchen and opened fire.

Bob's manager Don Taylor walked into the line of fire and collected 5 gunshot wounds, two further shots went astray while the eighth caught Marley in the arm. Members of the Wailers ducked for cover, but as she fled the house Rita Marley was hit in the head by a ricochetting shot, the bullet lodging in her scalp.

Bob, Rita and Don Taylor were admitted to the University College Hospital, where Rita underwent surgery to remove the bullet from her scalp, and Taylor was given life saving treatment. Bob's wound was treated and he was released to perform a calm and collected press conference in the presence of prime minister Michael Manley, after which he was spirited away to a safe haven in Strawberry Hill.

The Wailers participation in the Smile Jamaica concert now seemed unlikely, and in the uncertainty the members of the band split to find there own places of peace. Meanwhile in the hills, Bob was reasoning with several Rasta elders as to which course of action to take, but right up until the evening of the show on December 5th, he was still unsure.

Eventually a decision was taken to perform, and the word was sent down to Hope Road to round up the Wailers band. Carly Barrett, Tyrone Downey and guitarist Don Kinsey were rushed to the stadium, but bassist Familyman Barrett was unobtainable, and so Cat Coore of Third World stepped in.

Marley arrived on stage to a rapturous reception, announcing his intention to perform just "one song". The band burst into the appropriate opening number War/No More Trouble, which segued seamlessly into Get Up Stand Up and was swiftly followed by scorching rendition of Crazy Baldhead and Positive Vibration.

The rest of the nights performance was simply stunning. Despite several technical and musical shortcomings, Bob and his makeshift Wailers provided one of the events that occur only rarely in the liftime of man. Bob stood defiantly confident on the crowded stage and delivered a unique set that dipped into the current Rastaman Vibration selection as well as reviving Keep On Moving, where he delivered the lyric almost as a warning of his impending exile from Jamaica.

An exact explanation as to the motive behind the Hope Road shootings will probably never be known, but one theory suggests that it centred around a horse racing scam involving Bob's close friend Alan "Skilly" Cole, but it is hard to see past the political circumstances that may well have played a part.

The Hope Road shooting left scars on Bob Marley far deeper than any flesh wound. In the remaining 4 years of his performing career he referred to the events of that December evening with hurt and disgust, most openly on the 1979 recording Ambush In The Night.

For Bob Marley it was more than just an attempt on his own existence, it was an assault on liberty.

Jamaica - Friday, November 30, 2001
Bob Marley & UN Security Council Brief - Special Representative presents poem from Marley lyrics
New York, Nov. 27 (JIS): What does reggae icon, Bob Marley has to do with the United Nation's Security Council and the world of international diplomacy?

In a very serious Security Council deliberation last week (November 20) on the situation of Children In Armed Conflicts, the name of Jamaica's international superstar was invoked into the proceedings and hailed for his positive message on the universal themes of suffering and redemption.

Bob Marley's name was introduced into the high level meeting by the UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Olara Otunnu, who was making a presentation before the Council on war-affected children.

After giving a comprehensive overview of the situation as it relates to these children, Mr. Otunnu appealed to the world community to continue to give attention to the plight of children in strife-ridden countries, much in the vein of Bob Marley who spoke about world suffering in his songs.

He concluded his statement by invoking the voice of Marley, whom he called Jamaica's favourite son and special gift to the world and whose powerful voice gave the global community, the gift of reggae music.

The Under-Secretary General remarked that Marley's deeply spiritual renditions of the themes of suffering and redemption, seemed appropriate for the Council's Special Debate on war-affected children.

Using lyrics from Marley's various songs, Mr. Otunnu composed a poem, entitled Hearing the Children Cryin' to underscore the crisis of children in war zones around the world.

"I hear Bob Marley's voice calling us to action on behalf of children," he began:
Hear the children cryin'
We had told them in yesteryears
Don't worry about a thing
'Cause every little thing gonna be all right
Hear the children cryin'
From Afghanistan to Angola
Asking for the same thing - One Love
Hear the children cryin'
From the Balkans to Burundi
Waiting for the same thing
Redemption Songs. Redemption Songs
Won't you help to sing
These songs of redemption
Rendering hope and protection
I hear three little birds
Perched on the door steps of the Council
Singin' melodies pure and true
Sayin' again and again
This is our message to you-ou-ou.

His "Bob Marley" poem was greeted with thunderous applause by the Council, which was hearing statements from some thirty speakers on the issue of "Children and Armed Conflict."

Jamaica's UN Ambassador, Patricia Durrant, who is the current President of the Security Council, thanked Mr. Otunnu for his contribution and his Bob Marley "rendition." The Council later adopted a resolution, which sets out a plan of action to protect war-affected children.

Reggae music, it appears, has a special place at the UN table of diplomacy. Earlier this year, some Security Council diplomats were most disappointed when they did not get the opportunity to hear Jamaican reggae music played in the hallowed Chamber.

During intense talks in June, junior diplomats who were reviewing UN sanctions imposed on Iraq, came up with the idea of starting each negotiating session with selected music from each of the 15 countries represented on the Security Council. The thinking was to soothe frayed nerves and "mellow" the tone of the usually intense discussions with five minutes of music.

Britain, on June 4, led off with a selection from rocker Paul Weller, from the punk band, The Jam, followed by China who played traditional music, and then Bangladesh, whose selection was a lovelorn shepherd's lament. Colombia played a song, done by one of their famed folk singers.

France's envoy, said everyone was anticipating Jamaica's selection but a week later, Tunisia's Ambassador put a pause on the music, citing the lack of seriousness it seemed to present. Jamaica's envoy, Craig Lawrence, at the time said he was giving thought to a selection from Ernie Smith called Life Is Just For Living but not Bob Marley's "Stop the Music" (?)

Remember, 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.

X FM is broadcoast on the Internet, so you can hear it from all over the world. The Uruguay time for the show is : Saturday, 7:00 PM to 9:00PM.

People can contact Alvaro at : robertovive@portalx.com.uy
And you can hear by clicking "X FM"" on this site:
¡Roberto Vive!

December 3rd 1976: Bob Marley, Rita Marley and Don Taylor suffer gunshot wounds after a raid on 56 Hope Road.

December 5th 1976: The Smile Jamaica concert is held at National Heroes Park Circle, Kingston, Jamaica.

December 16th 1978: Peter Tosh appears on the US TV show Saturday Night Live, performing Don't Look Back with Mick Jagger.

December 2nd 1979: Bob and the Wailers perform the much bootlegged show at the Civic Center, Santa Cruz on the Californian leg of their Survival tour.

December 26th 1982: Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh perform individual sets at the Boxing Day Youth Conciousness Festival in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Bunny Wailer's set is released the following year as a live album on Solomonic.

December 14th 1997: Bunny performs at New York's Beacon Theatre, where he is joined onstage by former Wailer Constantine "Vision" Walker.

Previous Updates:
Number 11, November 2001
Number 10, October 2001     Number 9, September 2001
Number 8, August 2001    Number 7, July 2001
Number 6, June 2001     Number 5, May 2001
Number 4, April 2001    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

www.melodymakers.de     bobmarleyshop.com

Bob Marley Magazine     http://go.to/bobmarleyshows

Contact: jahlight@wailers.co.uk