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“Growing Dread: KC, The Wailers, and Me” by Mark Lee

The following essay by Mark Lee was published on May 11, 2011 at www.abengnews.com, a weekly online publication which showcases features, news analysis, commentary and the arts from a growing global network of correspondents, with a decidedly Caribbean/Jamaican flavor.  The essay, titled “Growing Dread:  KC, The Wailers, and Me” tells the story of a young Mark Lee and his experiences growing up in Kingston during the “golden age of reggae,” experiences which include attending Kingston College (KC) with Tyrone Downie, frequenting the Wail ’n Soul Tuff Gong record shop at Beeston Street, and witnessing the evolution of a small tune called “Concrete Jungle.” 

This is mandatory reading for any serious Wailers fan.

“Growing Dread:  KC, The Wailers, and Me”
by Mark Lee

Jennifer Lopez is on my Toronto TV as I write, singing I’m Into You, accompanied by the rapper Lil Wayne. It’s a traditional reggae bass line with a little bit of the more recent dancehall rhythm on top – a sound some of us in my youthful days called flyers rockers, associated with the likes of Johnny Clarke and his None Shall Escape.

The influence of Jamaican “music of the ghetto” on world music culture is as good a point as any to recall episodes of life to mark the 30 years since news broke that Bob Marley had died in a Miami hospital as he sought to get back to Jah Yard as cancer ebbed at his sinews.

The morning remains clear in my mind. As I walked west on North Street alongside the Moravian Church at the Duke Street intersection, headed towards Kingston Public Hospital to visit my grandmother who was a patient there, I met my younger brother Andre headed to school in the opposite direction, having visited grandma.

“Mark you hear? Bob Marley dead!”

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RARE PHOTOS FROM WAIL’M SOUL’M ERA

Photo by Esther Anderson

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