Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The Original Wailers to spread irie vibrations at Pearl Street

By Lee Taylor

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Pearl Street has been getting down lately, paying homage through amplifiers and microphones to the great reggae legend, Bob Marley. This past weekend, a photograph of Marley graced an amplifier in Badfish’s rig as they tore through a repertoire of world class Sublime emulations harkening back to the guy that brought Badfish to their current success. To pay your respects to the late Sublime singer Bradley Nowell, you must pay it back farther to the man who paved the reggae road himself. In keeping with the irie vibrations, tomorrow, the venue will host Marley’s former cohorts with a performance from the Original Wailers.

Though Bob Marley and the Wailers did not achieve widespread recognition outside of Jamaica until the early 70s, the band enjoyed incredible success up until, and even following Marley’s death in 1981. Today his legacy lives on and his contributions to the Rastafarian movement and reggae music continue to inspire musicians from Sublime’s own Bradley Nowell to Sting. Marley’s songs have also fueled many movements for peace and justice across the world with such well-recognized classics as “Buffalo Soldier,” “One Love” and “Get Up Stand Up.”

Celebrations of the late reggae star’s life have continued since ‘the Natty Dread’s’ passing twenty-eight years ago with not one but two bands currently touring under the Wailers name. The Wailers Band, one of Marley’s earliest projects rose to considerable fame until the band’s breakup in 1974 and featured Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. Their involvement in the Wailers preceded each musician’s respective solo career and Tosh’s future prominence in the Rastafarian movement. The lineup, including now notable figures in Reggae music, forged on following the break-up and later, Marley’s death. The Wailers Band still tours today despite the passing of both Tosh, Bunny Wailer and of course Marley himself and continues to survive through the many lineup changes.

Following the break-up of the Wailers Band, Marley joined forces with epic reggae bassist Aston Barrett to form Bob Marley and the Wailers. Barrett, also commonly known as “Family Man,” having fathered 52 children, helped to recruit and train many band members. His ingenious bass lines have earned him recognition as an eminent figure in reggae. Following Marley’s death, he continued to play to much acclaim with current members of the Original Wailers, Al Anderson and Junior Marvin.

This sonic reincarnation of Marley’s extraordinary backing band, dubbed the Original Wailers, features Anderson and Marvin in its current form. Both musicians contributed guitar on several memorable songs by Bob Marley & the Wailers. They also played together in the Wailers Band until recently, leaving that version of the Wailers with only one original Wailer.

The two groups face the very same legal battle as current versions of L.A. Guns and The Beach Boys, with former band members split into separate factions. The Original Wailers, however, outnumber the other incarnation with two of Bob Marley’s former band mates, channeling the classics with soul that should not be missed in Northampton tomorrow night.

The Original Wailers perform Thursday, October 8 at 9 p.m. at the Pearl Street Nightclub, 10 Pearl Street, Northampton. Tickets are available through Northampton Box Office by phone or at

Lee Taylor can be reached at [email protected]

1 Comment

One Response to “The Original Wailers to spread irie vibrations at Pearl Street”

  1. mama2funky on October 8th, 2009 7:46 am

    Your article leads leads one to believe Bunny Wailer is dead…He is still very much alive. This is not a clear sentence.

    ” The Wailers Band still tours today despite the passing of both Tosh, Bunny Wailer and of course Marley himself and continues to survive through the many lineup changes.”


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