I’ve got a real rarity for you guys today. A Seeco interview. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Seeco speak. I know I’ve never seen him interviewed. Give thanks for the genius of Ras RoJah Steffens. He has such extensive Wailers knowledge that he knew Seeco, along with Joe Higgs, was partially responsible for helping mold Bob, Bunny, and Peter into a tight, rhythmic, melody-making machine. Knowing this, he is able to pull the story from Seeco, and land an interview with the Wailers’ enigma.
Long before The Wailers started recording, percussionist Alvin “Seeco” Patterson was one of the primary musical tutors for the vocal group, specializing in rhythm. Seeco, seeing that the trio could be molded into something great, brought the Wailers to the attention of Studio One owner Clement “Coxsone” Dodd. He even played congas for them as they auditioned for Coxsone, who eventually took them on as recording artists. He went on to become a roadie for The Wailers 1973/74 tours before becoming the longtime percussionist for The Wailers. SEECO is sometimes credited as Francisco “Willie” Pep.
Prior to this, Patterson had a career in Jamaica’s “mento” music scene. In Stephen Davis’ biography, “Bob Marley“, it is revealed that Seeco, “played with Lord Flea and various mento-calypso combos”. Davis later describes the music Lord Flea played when Seeco was in the band as “mento jazz”.
The interview, conducted backstage in 1991 at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles, is a real rarity. Roger tells me that this is the first time it is seeing the light of day. In the interview, Seeco tells the story of bringing Marley to his first audition at Coxsone. It’s a little hard to penetrate fully, but I think you will enjoy the challenge.
I’m also including what is in my opinion the best Bob Marley and the Wailers rehearsal session that circulates. This rehearsal session from May 31, 1978 is an absolute gem. The songs performed on these tapes sound better than most groups’ officially released material. What amazes me the most is how tight the band is during this session. It is common knowledge to most die-hard fans that Marley rehearsed his band like no other lead musician. They spent hours upon hours upon hours in hot, muggy, and smoky rehearsal rooms honing these songs to perfection.
They had just played 2 shows at The Orpheum in Madison, WI a few days earlier. They are back in Miami at Criteria Studios to rehearse for the upcoming tour. The tour will take them to Philadelphia on June 5, 1978 to play the Spectrum. It then continues on through the northeast and Canada before taking off in Europe.
These rehearsal tapes, a virtual “throw away set” for Marley, is one of the best reggae sets that I own.
01 Rastaman Chant (take 1)
02 Keep The Faith (take 1)
03 Rastaman Chant (take 2)
04 Keep The Faith (take 2)
05 Keep The Faith (take 3)
06 Keep The Faith (take 4)
07 Burning & Looting (false start)
08 Burning & Looting (take 1)
09 Burning & Looting (take 2)
10 Time Will Tell (take 1)
11 Time Will Tell (take 2)
12 Lively Up Yourself
13 Who The Cap Fit ( Man To Man )
01 Easy Skanking
02 Want More
05 Running Away
06 Crazy Baldhead
07 Running Away (take 2)
08 Positive Vibration
09 Soul Rebel
10 Waiting In Vain
Big, big thanks to Ras RoJah Steffens for sharing this rare interview with us.