Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Natty dread

Good one in town tonight, as the Wailers make the trip to Dolan's Warehouse, continuing a tour they started on the 30th anniversary of the release of the seminal Exodus album, to play what Time magazine voted the album of the 20th century. High praise, and not unwarranted when you consider the classics contained within; Released in 1977, it contained the likes of the title track, Jamming, Turn the Lights Down Low, Three Little Birds, and the superb Waiting in Vain.

Of course Bob's not around to play with these lads, but they are some of the original members of Marley's troupe. Let's be specific, here's the basic blurb..

"The nucleus of the Wailers formed in 1969, when Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, and Peter Tosh recruited the Barrett brothers – bassist Aston “Family Man” and drummer Carly – from Lee Perry’s Upsetters to play on hits such as Lively Up Yourself, Trenchtown Rock, Duppy Conqueror, and many more beside..

Bunny and Peter left in 1973, two years after the posse signed to Island records. It was at this point that the in-demand Barrett brothers – whose rhythms also underpinned innumerable seventies’ reggae hits by other acts – assumed the title of Wailers, and backed Marley on the group’s international breakthrough album, Natty Dread. Under Family Man’s musical leadership, they then partnered Bob Marley on the succession of hit singles and albums (including Exodus) that made him a global icon, etc etc..

Drummer Carlton “Carly” Barrett died in 1987, leaving his brother as the main beneficiary of the Wailers' mantle. Subsequent line-ups have revolved around Family Man, who is widely regarded as one of the world’s greatest bass players (modest too).

Family Man (you'll love this, so called because he has fathered something like 52 kids, wow) and lead singer Elan Atias form the main axis of the current Wailers line-up."

Interestingly, Family Man sued Marley's estate a couple of years ago, citing a right to royalties, which he claimed to have been promised by the reggae superstar, but this action failed, much to his chagrin.

There you have it. Family Man contributed some of the finest bass lines in musical recording history, and has been cited by musicians such as Flea as a massive influence.

I'll be at this, front row, centre. See you there.

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