Archive for the ‘Bob Marley & The Wailers’ Category

Toots & The Maytals

Saturday, April 21st, 2012

TootsA, Toots & The Maytals, Island, Chris Blackwell

Listen: Chatty Chatty / Toots & The Maytals

By the time ‘Chatty Chatty’ was released in 1980, reggae seemed mainstream, at least to us collectors. Although the occasional US ska or reggae radio hit of the 60′s had long ended, and it’s resurgence in the 90′s still being a ways off, college stations were playing it pretty heavily. Plus the touring acts would hit all the punk and new wave clubs, drawing primarily the same audiences.

If ‘Chatty Chatty’ sounds similar to Bob Marley & The Wailers’ ‘Could You Be Loved’ it’s not surprising. Chris Blackwell produced both in that same year. On first listen I was convinced Toots & The Maytals had a mainstream smash on their hands, at least in the UK. Wrong. It never charted. None of his singles did. Seems hard to believe.

‘Chatty Chatty’ serves as the perfect springtime single, April 7, 1980 being it’s exact release date. That was something I learned from Chris. He many times saw a song’s first listen as being seasonal. Toots was spring and summer, Marianne Faithfull definitely autumn or winter.

Marcia Griffiths

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

Listen: Electric Boogie (Featuring Bunny Wailer) / Marcia Griffiths
Electric Boogie (Featuring Bunny Wailer) / Marcia Griffiths

Marcia Griffiths, she of Bob & Marcia from the early 70′s, also spent seven years as a member of The I-Threes, legendary background singers for Bob Marley & The Wailers.

This original version of ‘Electric Boogie’ with Bunny Wailer from ’83, initially turned up as a B side to her Mango single ‘Fever’ (top photo) but as a brewing party track, gained momentum. Within a few years, it was reissued on Island proper, this time as an A side.

Despite being a touch clumsy, possibly meaning rootsy to most, it’s a hard one not to like.

Listen: Electric Boogie / Marcia Griffiths
Electric Boogie / Marcia Griffiths

Like turned to love as a result of the 1989 remake with The Jerks, a sharp three man production team from Florida. Chris Blackwell had done a deal with them, hot off a success with Miami Sound Machine, and their biggest chart hit for Island (#51) came in the form of this new version, by now the signature song for the Electric Slide dance craze, well, sort of craze.

A DJ played this a few months back during an over the top birthday event held in one of those wonderfully generic party houses, complete with salty, over seasoned food, hoodwinking many into believing it was tasty. To be fair, the cake was super special, whipped cream instead of icing and lots of fresh fruit chunks and almond slivers folded in.

The floor lit up when ‘Electric Boogie’ hit the turntable, and I didn’t want it to end.


Friday, May 29th, 2009

Pound Get A Blow / The Wailers

Listen: Pound Get A Blow / Bob Marley & The Wailing Wailers PoundGetABlow.mp3

Funeral / The Wailers

Listen: Funeral / Bob Marley & The Wailing Wailers Burial.mp3

The Wailers got their start with Coxsone Dodd at Studio One in the early 60′s, singing doo wop and RnB covers, along with songs written in the new ska style. They had a good bit of success but it was a problematic relationship. In the 60′s, blacks around the world began to embrace their African heritage, and for The Wailers this led to the beginnings of their Rastafarian beliefs. Dodd was not a Rasta and, like Duke Reid over at the other big label, Treasure Isle, he didn’t allow Rasta themes in his records. Also, the financial benefits of their hits never fully came their way, as is so often the case in the Jamaican music industry. Despite a successful ska career, and having a handful of hits, by the mid 60′s, Bob Marley was essentially homeless and sleeping in a back room at Studio One. It was then that he decided to go to America, to live with his mother for a while and make some money, before returning to Jamaica to fund the next phase of the band.

After a stint in Delaware, working the night shift in an automobile factory, Bob had saved some money. But it was the American military’s decision to begin drafting young men to go to Viet Nam that made him decide it was time to return to Jamaica.

On his return he reunited with The Wailers, Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh, to form their own record label and they called it Wail N Soul M. Its logo illustrated their three arms interlocking in unity. They set up a little record shop across the street from a cemetary, and used to go to the funerals there. Just to go to them… don’t ask me why. Maybe that’s where the inspiration for the B side of this early single came from.

The A side, ‘Pound Get A Blow’, was the story of global currency troubles and the way they ripple thru a society. Bob and Peter trade lead vocals on this, and at one point, Bob really croons. Peter sings lead on the B side, ‘Funeral’, with Bob’s new wife Rita singing backup. The band included JA session masters such as Dizzy Moore and Tommy McCook on horns, Hugh Malcolm on drums and Jackie Jackson on bass. Both tracks were recorded at in late ’67 at West Indies Studios, and self produced by The Wailers. To my ears they more than stand the test of time.

Two labels are shown here and they help illustrate the path a Jamaican single normally took. The first pressing would be a white label, with info either rubber stamped on it or hand written. These small quantity pressings were sold to the many DJ’s for sound system use. Then, if the record was popular enough at the dances to be worth a retail release, they would invest in printing real labels for the formal pressing.