On May 20, 2016, seven time Grammy award winning recording artist Ziggy Marley will release his sixth solo studio album Ziggy Marley through Tuff Gong Worldwide. The album showcases an artist who continues to evolve his own signature sound after re-inventing himself following his departure from Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers in 2000. Fans of his sound, a tight fusion of rock, reggae, and folk, will enjoy what he offers here and fans of his earlier work will be pleasantly surprised to find plenty of that popular reggae sound synonymous with the Marley name.
My selection for best reggae album so far this year is Bob Marley and the Wailers Easy Skanking: Boston 1978. This phenomenal live set, released on CD/LP/DVD/Blu-Ray, captures the group at the peak of their career at Boston’s Music Hall on June 8, 1978.
The band was coming off their now-historic performance at the One Love Peace Concert in April, their first performance back on the island since Marley’s attempted assassination and the Smile Jamaica concert in December 1976. They were touring the U.S. in support of their new album Kaya, which was released on March 23, 1978.
On June 8, 1978 they played two shows at the famed Boston Music Hall, a performing arts center located on Tremont Street in Boston. This venue was originally known as the Metropolitan Theatre when it opened in 1925. It seats more than 3,600 people. In 1962 it became the home of the Boston Ballet and was renamed the Music Hall.
“Rebel Music (3 O’Clock Road Block”
I have included a review of the show by Steve Morse of the Boston Globe.
Here you will find a review of this show by Mike Davies which was published in Melody Maker on July 1, 1978. Bob Marley and the Wailers were originally scheduled to play a date in London, however, plans had to be changed because a suitable venue wasn’t available. According to promoter Alec Leslie, some hall managers were worried about trouble at Marley concerts. It seems they still had memories of the few incidents at Hammersmith Odeon two years earlier, mostly involving pickpockets – even though there was no trouble at all when the band played at the Rainbow in July 1977.
In the 10 May 1978 issue of New Musical Express, the Bob Marley & The Wailers gig at the 8,000-capacity Stafford Bingley Hall on Thursday 22 June 1978 was announced. Tickets for the gig were all set at one price of £4.
However, according to accounts given by several individuals who attended the show, the concert was actually held at the County Showgrounds in Staffordshire.
In his review of the June 22nd show at Stafford Bingley Hall aptly titled ‘Babylon By Bus,’ Penny Reel describes a less than stellar evening:
“Between I and I, a writer’s relationship with his reader is a balance of equal power; the former dictates terms, but only at the latter’s discretion – where a page may be turned at any moment’s whim. In the presentation of this review, I might abuse this premise with the inclusion of any number of irrelevances. I could, for instance, recount that the three coaches detailed for the record company’s guests – press, photographers, and EMI reps – departed Island’s St Peter’s Square HQ at 5.30pm and, due to the inconsistencies of the rush hour tarffic, had crawled no further north than Watford some two hours on. To which would be added that only two of the these arrived at their destination; the third, the one carrying the hapless EMI reps, disgruntedly gave up the ghost.
And furthermore, those two that completed the journey only made it at the expense of Steel Pulse’s 40 minute set – leaving one cynical observer to remark that Island were, perhaps, releasing the Brum Klanners from their contract (No we’re not – Island Records) – and midway through Marley’s own stage act. Less than an hour later, it would be added, the same pair of charabancs were heading back to the capital for the small-hours disembarcation of their respective passengers…
I arrived midway through Bob’s performance of Heathen, and made my way backstage for the introduction of No Woman No Cry, Lively Up Yourself, Jamming, and by way of a single encore, Get Up Stand Up….This was followed by a brief chorus or two of Exodus/Punky Reggae Party to the self-absorbed posturing of the I Threes by way of extra farce, and the Natty One hopping offstage for the last time, leaving behind the voluminous cascade of applause….”
Peter Van Arnhem
Here we have a rare interview with Yabby You which appeared in the August 1995 issue of Forward Magazine. Make sure to check the new Yabby You box set from Shanachie titled Dread Prophecy: The Strange and Wonderful Story of Yabby You which will be available for purchase next week. Also, check Jah Raver’s review of the forthcoming release at FDRMX.
Big up my friend Jesse Serwer at LargeUp.com for sharing with us their coverage of the festivities in Jamaica to mark the 70th anniversary of Bob Marley’s birthday.
Jesse and Martei Korley also covered the events for Rolling Stone.
On one of the coldest nights of the year a near-capacity crowd showed up at Washington DC’s 930 Club to witness Jesse Royal‘s debut live performance in the US. The “Small Axe” performed a blistering set of singles from his popular mixtapes backed by the incredibly adept and well-rehearsed King Suns band.
Royal was in town to play the Bob Marley Birthday Bash on Friday, February 6, 2015 – the 70th anniversary of the birth of Bob Marley (February 6, 1945). Also on the bill were legendary “reggae ambassadors” Third World, who lost their beloved lead singer William “Bunny Rugs” Clarke last February. Virginia’s own Dub Architect served up the crowd with a heavy set of live dub mixes, including his own dub mixes of several of Bob Marley’s most beloved tunes.
I attended the Bob Marley Birthday Tribute show at the 930 Club in Washington, DC on Friday night February 6, 2015 – the 70th anniversary of Bob Marley’s birthday (February 6, 1945). The show featured Jesse Royal in his debut performance in DC along with Third World and Dub Architect.
As a personal tribute to Marley, Dub Architect stacked his set with his very own dub mixes of some of Marley’s most popular tunes. Here is the dub mix of “Waiting In Vain.” Dub Architect live at the 930 Club.
My review of the show will be posted shortly.
Bob Marley’s comprehensive tour history has been thoroughly researched and meticulously documented by fans, collectors, and journalists over the past thirty-plus years. Every tour date and venue has been checked against reliable resources such as newspaper articles, advertisements, concert reviews, ticket stubs, and tour programs to ensure the accuracy of his tour history. In many cases the touring band line-up, setlists, and audio recordings are available. Our friends Marco Virgona and Ivan Serra over at Bob Marley Magazine just published an outstanding book titled Bob Marley On The Road which compiles all documented tour dates and venues along with press articles, reviews, and rare photographs.
Bob Marley’s tour history is so well-documented that any new undocumented live performance by Marley is almost always met with skepticism by the “reggae police.” Back in 2012, MIDNIGHT RAVER unearthed an obscure article from The Capitol Times of Annapolis, MD which documents a homecoming show at the US Naval Academy at which The Wailers opened for Sly & the Family Stone.
Several days ago while looking through some vintage press about Israel Vibration I came across a feature from the August/September 1977 issue of Swing Magazine, a Jamaican cultural and lifestyle magazine which circulated in the 1970s. The feature, titled Israel Vibration: Vibrating with Terrence Golden, discusses several prominent Israel Vibration live performances from the previous year including a show in Jamaica headlined by Bob Marley and the Wailers. The show, produced by the Twelve Tribes of Israel, was billed as “a celebration of His Imperial Majesty’s Coronation” and was held at the Student Union on November 2, 1976. According to the feature:
“[Israel Vibration], along with Bob Marley, stole the show at the Student’s Union Celebration (His Majesty’s Coronation November 2) from other top artists Judy Mowatt, Little Roy, Malawi, Naptali, [Dan Hutson and] The Seers and more.”
With the November 2014 signing of Brooklyn reggae outfit New Kingston, New York City indie reggae label Easy Star Records proved itself, yet again, to be much more than just “those guys who dubbed out Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.” New Kingston’s new album Kingston City, their debut album for Easy Star, which was released on January 27, 2015, has impressively debuted at #1 on the Billboard Reggae chart. The album is the band’s third studio album and their first release to claim the #1 spot on the Billboard Reggae chart.
New Kingston, a family group featuring three brothers (Stephen, Courtney Jr., and Tahir) and their father play a refreshing brand of reggae that is as authentically Jamaican as it is refreshingly unique among other U.S. reggae outfits. A Jamaican roots reggae vocal trio at their core, New Kingston displays a remarkably expansive vocal range, impressive diction (check “Conquer Dem” featuring Sister Carol), an inspiriting lack of pretense, surprisingly adept musicianship, and musical sensibilities that span many sub-genres within reggae. For three youths who grew up in Brooklyn, they sport the gully bank-patois of a Kingston original.