Crap. I ‘n’ I was still processing the loss of Reggae stalwart U Roy. I was actually at work editing a sound file when all of a sudden my phone lit up. Twitter, Rolling Stone, friends: Bunny Wailer passes of complications from a stoke he had last summer. At 73, that is far too young. But now he adds the high harmony to Bob’s tenor and Peter’s baritone.
As it was and ever shall be. Selah!
Bob was the rock star. Peter the militant. And Bunny was rightfully the mystic man of the trio. He didn’t want to fit into the rock star mold that Island owner Chris Blackwell wanted for the group. So he pulled out and re-trenched as a Rasta philosopher and dancehall pioneer. His high harmonies on Hallelujah Time*, which I lead off with today, speak to his gospel prowess.
*Great name for a Reggae radio show/podcast!
<Hallelujah Time; 32 sec.>
As befit their ghetto roots that led to so much great music, they were all inter-related. Bunny’s father lived with Bob’s mother and had a dawta. Bob’s half sister. Peter had Andrew Tosh with Bunny’s sister. So even when the 3 went their separate ways, they were still and always a family.
<Why I call it Wailers Family Tree; 30 sec.>
For I ‘n’ I, Bunny Wailer always means two things. The record I purchased before I was even into Reggae: Blackheart Man. Saw it front and center at the foundation Salt Lake City record shop Cosmic Aeroplane. Great Neville Garrick cover art. Gatefold sleeve, rare for a Reggae record. Of Bunny, spliff in his mouth, a lion protruding from his third eye while an extra terrestrial looking Haile Selassie sits upon his shoulder. That album helped light the fuse.
The Blackheart Man. Indeed!
<Blackheart Man, earliest addition to the Smile Jamaica Ark-Ive; 58 sec.>
The other sublime Bunny Wailer is his stepping out on lead with the 1971 recording of Dreamland. The lyrics are all about going to heaven. (The last song on this podcast edition.) Lee “Scratch” Perry brought out that terrific mysticism that is so authentic and powerful. When its my turn, I’ve asked it to be played at any gathering my would family have.
Thank you Neville Livingston for making us enriched with the power of your music and the beauty of your voice.
Bonus Story: How Thievery Corporation saved me in a blizzard going over Monida Pass, Holiday 2002
Smile Jamaica Ark-Ives: March 6, 2021 Playlist: 2 min. 35 sec.
- Horace Andy – Oh Lord, Why Lord; Best of (Studio One) ’72 JA vinyl; Parliament/G. Clinton cover
- Jah Shaka – Institution Dub; Dub Masters Vol. 1 (Mango) ’89 UK vinyl dub album of the hour
- The Wailers – Hallelujah Time; Burnin’ (Island) ’73 UK vinyl: Bunny Wailer on vox. RIP
- Bush Chemists – Time of Tribulation; Light Up Your Spliff (Conscious Sounds) ’96 UK Mutant Dub
- Johnnie Moore & the Skatalites – South China Sea (Take 1); 10” EP (Top Deck) ’65 UK green vinyl trumpet ska
- Cocoa Tea – There’s an Herb Tree in My Garden; Mr. Cocoa Tea (Blue Mountain) ’85 herbtune/Ben E. King Spanish Harlem
- Universal Speakers – We Roots + Dub; We Roots (Catch Me Time) 2012 US roots dawta group
- Thievery Corporation feat. Emilia Torriani – Heaven Is In Your Eyes; Richest Man in Babylon (ESL) 2002 DC dubbers
- Lee Perry & the Upsetters – Soul Man; Double Seven (Trojan) ’73 cover of Sam & Dave soul
- Judy Mowatt – Black Woman; Women Hold Up Half the Sky (Shanachie) ’76 comp.
- Welton Irie – Man Next Door; 12” (Joe Gibbs Record Globe) ’79 FL: dj to Paragons tune
- Johnny Clarke – Every Knee Shall Bow; Dreader Dread (Blood & Fire) ’78 comp.
Set 3: Best of Smile Jamaica 31+ Years
- Bunny Wailer – Cease Fire; Roots Radics Rockers Reggae (Shanachie) ’83 herbtune
- Dr. Alimantado – Oil Crisis; Born For a Purpose (Greensleeves) ‘73
- Marcia Griffiths – Give and You Get; Steppin’ (Shanachie) ‘79
- George Faith – Midnight Hour/Ya Ya; To Be a Lover (Mango) ’77 Lee “Scratch” Perry/Black Ark: Wilson Pickett/The Coasters cover
- Dub Specialist – Starring Dub; Dub (Heartbeat/Studio One) 70’s dub album of the hour
- Michigan & Smiley – Diseases; Dancehall (Soul Jazz) ’84 comp.
- Wailing Souls – Wild Wild Life; Cool Runnings Soundtrack (Chaos) ’93 Talking Heads cover
- Black Harmony – Our Feelings; 12” (Cool Rockers) ’81 UK female lovers Rock
Set 5: Vinyl is Vital
- U Roy – Control Tower; Rasta Ambassador (TR Groovemaster) ’77 JA
- Phyllis Barnes – Black Cinderella; Yabby You and King Tubby’s All-Stars (Yabby You) early 90’s JA
- The Specials – Stereotypes; Top Chrysalis 2 (Chrysalis) ’80 Spanish comp
- Bunny Wailer – Ballroom Floor; Live (Mango) 12/26/82 morn in JA US
Set 6: Wailers Family Tree
- Bunny Wailer – This Train; Blackheart Man (Mango) ’76 US – Sister Rosetta Tharpe cover
- Bunny Wailer – Galong So; Solomonic Singles vol. 2 (Solomonic) ‘81
- Bob Marley & the Wailing Wailers – Nice Time; Wail ‘N Soul ‘M Singles (JAD) ‘67
- Ranny Williams feat. Peter Tosh – Pepper Seed; Arise Blackman (Trojan) ’69 Unity label single. Peter on organ
- King Tubby – Many Moods of the King Dub; I Am the King (Sprint) Dub Album of the Hour
Set 7: Rockers do Reggae
- David Lindley – Tu-Ber-Cu-Lucas and the Sinus Blues; El Rayo-X (Asylum) ’81 Rockers do Reggae Set
- The Members – Clean Men; 1980: The Choice is Yours (Virgin) ’80 UK pub rock
- Robert Palmer – Hard Head; Some People Can Do What They Like (Island) ‘76
- Grace Jones – Love You to Life + Dub; Hurricane (Wall of Sound) 2011
Set 8: Reggae Rona Mini Opera
- David Fly – Coronavirus Covid-19; Digital File: Reggae Rona Mini Opera
- The Ethiopians – Hong Kong Flu; Original Hit Sound (Trojan) ‘69
- The Clash – Lost in the Supermarket; London Calling (Epic) ‘79
- The Police – Don’t Stand So Close to Me; Zenatta Mondatta (A & M) ‘80
- Junior Byles – Fever; Beat Down Babylon (Trojan) ’72 Lee “Scratch” Perry prod’n
- Junior Delgado – Live Like a Hermit; Sisters and Brothers (Blue Moon) ‘79
- Love Clinic – Love Clinic; Love Clinic (Ariwa) 2005 UK Roots Dawtas
- The Wailers – Dreamland; Complete Upsetter Collection (Trojan) ’71 Bunny Wailer on vox