February 24, 1988 |
When the late Bob Marley's former band the Wailers broke into his anthemic "Rastaman Vibration" on Monday night at the Palace, it was hard not to reflect on the bad vibrations suffered by this combo--from Marley's death from brain cancer in 1981 to the murders last year of drummer Carlton Barrett and founding member Peter Tosh. Still, there was no sense of grieving or self-pity surrounding the Wailers' performance.
May 19, 1989 |
With the death of the charismatic Bob Marley in 1980, reggae lost much of its luster, and its popularity seemed to be on the wane for several years. But with the emergence of such groups as Grammy-winning Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers--a group composed of Marley's children--and such recent hits as UB40's "Red Red Wine," reggae is no longer on the decline. On the contrary, it shows signs of finally earning real, broad-based popularity. Wednesday night at the Universal Amphitheatre, on a program that will repeat tonight at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, the Wailers--formerly Bob Marley's backup band--played an hour-plus set that was long on fire and urgency and even showed an occasional burst of high-spirited invention.
April 1, 1988 |
Imagine an America torn apart by election-eve street violence between Democrats and Republicans. Then picture a rock singer bringing George Bush and Jesse Jackson on stage before a massive crowd and linking their hands in a grand gesture of reconciliation. That's what happened in Jamaican terms at the 1978 "One Love" concert in Kingston, where Bob Marley united Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley and opposition leader Edward Seaga.
February 3, 1991 |
"Talkin' Blues" is a collection of unreleased tracks from the early days of the Wailers' international career, but rather than an album of bottom-of-the-vaults filler it's a valuable addition to the legacy of a group that revolutionized the pop world.
August 11, 1995 |
It was like trying to catch a Rastaman version of a will-o'-the-wisp, with a bit of the Keystone Cops thrown in. Junior Marvin, leader and manager of what's left of reggae's legendary Wailers, couldn't be found anywhere. Representing a group with no press liaison or stateside record label, Marvin was always five minutes ahead or behind of the phone calls placed to various motel rooms throughout the country in an attempt to determine just what the Wailers are in 1995.
August 14, 1995 |
Important groups from the past that tour without key members are among the most reprehensible manifestations of cynicism in the business that pop music has become. So what was one to make of the prospect of the Wailers without the musical and spiritual leadership of the late Bob Marley--not to mention the late Peter Tosh and missing-in-action Bunny Livingston--on the road in 1995?
July 30, 1989 |
Behind the Caribbean's sandy beaches, palm trees and fruity rum drinks is a festival waiting to happen. A festival, Caribbean style, is part street party, part masquerade and part jam session. Travelers to Trinidad know that a Caribbean festival is not a spectator sport. Unlike an American parade, where people line the sidewalks watching the bands march and majorettes twirl, audience participation is part and parcel of Caribbean festivals.
May 25, 2002 |
Only one Orthodox Jew from Los Angeles has had to convince a crowd of Jamaican music fans that he's not Bob Marley's son. Then again, only one Jewish vocalist has toured the world as frontman for the Wailers and been told by everyone from Carlos Santana to David Crosby that his rich, haunting voice is the living embodiment of Marley's.
May 7, 1996 |
Among the most eye- and ear-opening, glorious surprises I experienced on the job last year was catching the Wailers at the Coach House. Going into the show, I had a bad attitude about the whole thing--surely, this would be a reggae version of one of those ersatz Coasters or Ink Spots that tours the country with anonymous nobodies in the lineup, dragging the group's name through the mud to make a few quick bucks off people's nostalgia.