A Conversation for Reggae
Rt. Rev. Lesley Gentle Started conversation Nov 8, 2002
Surely Bob Marley was a rastafarian convert after he became prominent in the Jamaican music scene quite a while after the rastafari were seen as symbols of rebelliousness within Jamaican society.
He sang for Lee Perry's house band which he stole along with a lot of his tunes to enable their first step towards independent fame.
Whilst Marley undoubtedly had a gift for writing wonderful music, it is often overlooked that his peace ethic wasn't consistent with his private life. It is well documented that Marley had many gangster links and would use physical violence and intimidation to get his own way for example kicking Chris Blackwell half to death over a money argument. He only started to change when he miraculously escaped with his life when a gunman missed him at point-blank range in his house.
Marley has been deified for too long and casts too great a shadow over the wonderful reggae scene leading middle-class kids to idolise him as a revolutionary when in fact he was a violent misogynist who could write great tunes, and leading to many equally great artists being overlooked.
Tray_D Posted Jan 15, 2004
To true. Marley deserves credit as a great songwriter and the perfect ambassador for reggae, but that's about it. I would go so far as to say that he's not even my favorite Wailer. Bunny has consistently put out some of the best music available.
As for those who are overlooked, the list is so long. But I'll add some of my personal favorites.
Yellowman, Freddie Macgregor, Beres Hammond, Barry Brown, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Bunny Wailer, Israel Vibrations, the Mighty Diamonds, the Paragons, Jimmy Cliff, Culture, Everton Blender, Sizzla, Buju Banton, Sanchez, Marcia Griffiths, Alton Ellis, Justin Hinds
and most important of all, The Skatalites. They were the creators, the ones who sparked the change from ska to rocksteady, and later brought about the sounds of reggae. Having had the chance to open up for many of these artists, I can also tell you that the Skatalites are by far the nicest and most inspiring musicians you can meet. They deserve the praises so often thrown at more visible bands. Much respect.
Leftist Posted Dec 6, 2004
Definitely a most rebellious Wailer was Peter Tosh, who was author of many good Wailer songs. I am very disappointed when people equalise entire reggae music with Bob.
Matt - Zaphodista and swashbuckling pirate of the "Blood of the Zaphodistas" Posted Dec 18, 2004
List of reggae artists who should have seen more or their music get attention could be made even longer... Not to mention a few people from Africa itself; Alpha Blondy and Tiken Jah Fakoly especially... And Jamaica's Burning Spear...
Except for making the list longer, I'd just like to add that it's easy to bag up Bob Marley as a hero, or as a violent misgynist... But kicking people half to death over money might actually seem a more normal way of behaviour when you come from a background where you owe nothing, when the matter of having money or not actually get to become quite important for survival... And being raised in Trench Town and not having gangster contacts might actually not be too easy...
Bob Marley was no angel in many ways, but being born in quite extreme poverty will shape you very differently than if you're born and raised in many parts, say of the US or Europe and this will hang on to you a long way, maybe even your whole life, and also after you've got rich and famous.
Rt. Rev. Lesley Gentle Posted Dec 22, 2004
Ernest Ranglin - the heart and soul of Jamaican music.
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