The Night Bob Marley Didn’t Play the Bouncing Ball
Penny Reel, May 2003
There is a bit of a buzz about it and tickets are distributed free among the local community in order to generate a strong black presence. Before the gig, his record company visit the Bouncing Ball and decorate its walls with the famous publicity photograph of the late soul rebel smoking a fat spliff.
When the crew arrive at the venue they notice that all these posters are since removed. Challenged about this, the manager of the club, not amiable Ken himself but his officious runaround in a suit, admits the disappearance of the posters as his own doing and says that they can’t have up a picture of a man smoking a spliff, what if police come down the club, rah rah rah.
The Wailers reach and set up onstage. Seeco arranges his percussion tableau, Family Man takes his bass from its case. Bob arrives and immediately notices the missing posters. On hearing the reason why, he declares that a club that refuses to display the poster on its wall is a club that he, Bob Marley, refuses to grace with his presence. Upon which, he leaves.
After he is gone, the club is obliged to refund all monies to the disappointed guests, including that sizeable number given complimentary tickets in the first place.
© Penny Reel, 2003
I was able to confirm that it was April 1973 that The Wailers were scheduled to play Admiral Ken’s Bouncing Ball. It would have been the first show of the Wailers Catch A Fire tour in England. Since the show was cancelled, the first proper show of the tour was at the Coleman Club in Nottingham on April 27, 1973.
So I couldn’t have you come here and read my blog without leaving you with something to take away with you. So I share with you the Wailers’ performance on the Top Gear Radio Show in Kensington, UK on May 1, 1973. The performance was taped for broadcast. It is presented here in lossless (FLAC) format. Please download and share in lossless format…never convert to .mp3.
1. “Concrete Jungle”
2. “Rastaman Chant”
3. “Slave Driver”
Over the next few weeks I will be sharing various performances from the historic One Love Peace Concert which took place on April 22, 1978. Give thanks to my good friend Dubwise Garage for coming through with the audio.
Today I share with you a true gem!
The One Love Peace Concert was held on April 22, 1978 during a political civil war in Jamaica between opposing parties Jamaican Labour Party and the People’s National Party. The concert brought together 16 of reggae’s biggest acts, and was dubbed by the media as the “Third World Woodstock.” Included were a small harmony trio called The Mighty Diamonds.
The Mighty Diamonds—Donald “Tabby” Shaw, Fitzroy ”Bunny” Simpson and Lloyd “ Judge” Ferguson formed in 1969 in the Trenchtown area of Kingston, Jamaica. They are the most consistent and long-running vocal trio in Jamaican musical history and for the past 41 years have been entertaining the world with their sweet harmonies and conscious lyrics. I have been a huge fan of the Diamonds ever since I first heard them on their 1991 album Jam Session – which I purchased in 1991 for $1.00 at the local flea market. Their harmonies just blew me away immediately. Just one listen to “Is This An Illusion” and you will be hooked for life.
They are probably best known for their 1976 debut album Right Time produced by Joseph Hoo Kim, and the 1979 release Deeper Roots. However, they are most famous perhaps for their association with the international smash hit “Pass The Koutchie”, a tune written by Leroy Sibbles and Jackie Mittoo and released on the 1981 album Changes. The song gained international notoriety as “Pass The Dutchie” when it was covered by Musical Youth in 1982.
From 1976 through 1983, the Diamonds recorded primarily at Channel One Studio on Maxwell Avenue, West Kingston. Channel One was built by the Hoo Kim brothers in 1972, and had a profound influence on the “classic era” of reggae. When it opened Channel One’s tape recorders were capable of recording on a maximum of only four tracks. In 1975, the studio was upgraded to a 16-track recorder which enabled engineers to record each instrument distinctly, lending intricacy to dub mixes and giving rise to the “rockers” sound (Katz, David, “Solid Foundation“, 2003).
The members of the Diamonds have produced at least 40 albums in their 40+ year career.
In addition to including their short set at the One Love Peace Concert, I have included a profile of the trio written by noted music journalist Vivien Goldman titled “The Mighty Diamonds: There’s No Ganja In Nassau”, published on June 10, 1978 in Sounds.
Click downward arrow to download audio track
2. “Keep On Moving”
3. “There’s No Me Without You”
4. “Roof Over My Head”
The Mighty Diamonds at Channel One
The Mighty Diamonds at Channel One