Mon | Feb 24, 2020

Bunny Wailer producing EP to mark 50 years of ‘Soul Rebel’

Published:Sunday | December 29, 2019 | 12:22 AMYasmine Peru - Sunday Gleaner Writer

From left: Asadenaki, Bunny Wailer, Written, and Blvk Hero.
From left: Asadenaki, Bunny Wailer, Written, and Blvk Hero.

With his prognosis being labelled “very good”, legendary reggae artiste Bunny Wailer is currently working on a project that he hopes to release the weekend of February 28, 2020, to significantly close off Reggae Month.

He is producing an EP in honour of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking 1970 Wailers album Soul Rebel, the group’s first internationally released recording.

It was in August 1970 that the Wailers approached producer Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, and together, they co-produced the entire album. The sessions, which lasted until November of that year, took place at Randy’s Recording Studio in Kingston.

The tribute group Wailers Trio, comprising Asadenaki Wailer (son of Bunny), Blvk H3ro, and Written, will be the featured artistes on this project, which Bunny Wailer’s assistant, Maxine Stowe, calls “a celebration of the work of the Wailers’ career (1962-1974) as the most acclaimed trio in the foundation history of Jamaican music”.

Stowe explained that the Wailers Trio tribute group, formed by Bunny Wailers’ WAIL Entertainment Group, “caps decades of activity by the surviving member to define and maintain the group’s legacy that is incorporated in his own solo career title”.

SOLO CAREERS

The Wailers, as lead singers and songwriters, established the solo careers of Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and surviving member Bunny Wailer; however, there have been cries that history has tried to make the group “invisible”.

In a press release, Stowe attempted to explain just how things got twisted, noting that marketing and intellectual-property confusion have beset the legacy of the group. “The title ‘Bob Marley & The Wailers’, which was one of their group titles, was used for the solo career of ‘Bob Marley’ by Island Records, and post his death, his solo career musicians took the title as ‘The Wailers Band’, with the word ‘Band’ removed from their promotion. With Bob Marley being the most successful solo member from the group, and of the roots reggae genre of Jamaican music, this has led to numerous legal and marketing challenges for the group’s musical intellectual property and business history,” the release said.

Healthwise, Stowe told The Sunday Gleaner that Jah B, as the Rastafari reggae artiste-philosopher is called, has shown much improvement following a minor stroke in October 2018. “He is engaged in rehabilitation programmes in Florida and Jamaica for muscle and speech. The prognosis is very good, and he is feeling much better,” Stowe asserted. “He is spending a lot of time at his farm and is getting involved in ecotourism,” she added.

Although Bunny Wailer does not intend to perform in 2020, Stowe mentioned that he is making plans for overseas travel as there have been offers from Europe to bestow special honours on the reggae icon.

yasmine.peru@gleanerjm.com