My good friend Dubwise Garage has a never-ending catalogue of rare recordings and live shows. He also recently launched a blog. If you are interested in obtaining rare music and live concert recordings, I would suggest you pay Dubwise Garage a visit. In the meantime, check out his profile of roots legend and melodica pioneer Augustus Pablo:
Marley. The mere mention of the name conjures images of roots, rasta, music, peace, love, oneness, livity, dread…I could go on. Bloodline of a lion. A pride of lions and lionesses who now carry the legacy of a man, some would say, deity, who delivered a divine message of “one love” to the earth a mere thirty years ago. This pride, so gifted with musical ability that they survive solely on its fruits for decade upon decade. For them, music is freedom. Music is salvation. Music is survival. Music is life. So now a young lion emerges from that pride who is ready to build on that foundation that was laid more than 4 decades ago by his cousin Nesta Robert Marley.
Alex Marley, lead singer and guitarist with the Black Lion Band, is making news on the island of Jamaica and is preparing to roar into the international music market with the success of his new single “Lovely Woman.” A multi-instrumentalist and roots musician, Marley made his debut in 2007 with his single “Times Dread“, recorded at Tuff Gong International Studio. He soon followed with the release of his album “Love“, which is currently available on itunes, emusic, Rhapsody, and Amazon. The young lion is known throughout Jamaica for his raw and incendiary live performances, often shocking crowds with his spitfyah delivery and wild antics, sometimes even incorporating his training in Zendoe Kai Kan Karate into his shows. One need only see his live performance to overstand that this is a man serious about his music…his religion…his culture – all the while representing his legendary surname to the fullest. This is music inspired by and about survival. Survival as a Rasta musician on “the rock” – the tuffest proving ground for any emerging roots artist – and survival of the message. Peace. Humility. Love. Inity. Liberation. Oneness.
Alex Marley’s journey as a roots musician began early, writing songs beginning at the age of 11. I interviewed Marley recently about his early involvement in music and his influences: “I started singing at age 8, writing songs at age 11. [My] inspiration comes from Haile Selassie I, life experiences, all the elements of nature, the books of the Bible and Bob Marley.” He attended St. Georges College and while there he wrote his first song “Color Prejudice,” after which he went to Quality Academics where he excelled in Literature and History and won the school music competition. Alex Marley draws inspiration for his music from the greats – artists such as Garnet Silk, Burning Spear, Jacob Miller, Peter Tosh, Jimi Hendrix, Carlos Santana, and Dennis Brown.
An artist who draws influence from his Rastafari faith, the “Marley Rebel“ – as commonly referred to by friends and fans – studies writings such as The Autobiography of His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie I , The Books of the Bible, Kebra Negast, Fetha Negast, as well as The Philosophies and Opinions of Marcus Mosiah Garvey. Marley attended The Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts where he studied guitar and voice. A multi-instrumentalist, Marley plays a number of other instruments such as the saxophone, congas, bass guitar, piano, steel pan and composes his own music. He has starred in TV commercials such as Coca-Cola advertisements, which he co-scripted, and has also been featured in local films and movies.
Alex Marley is not just a musician, but a Rastafari ambassador, performing volunteer work in his community and teaching music at various schools including St. Hughes Prep and Greenwich Farm All Age (near Trench Town) as well as summer camps at various institutions. An avid surfer, Marley was a member of the 2005 Jamaica National Surfing Team where he represented the country in the World Junior Pros at Huntington Beach, California.
A performer like no other, Alex Marley’s vocal delivery, lyrical style, and raucous live shows has established him as a unique talent among many in Jamaican roots music. During a live performance, Alex Marley is unpredictable and unforgiving. Moving from a fire-spitting dancehall rula to lover’s rock crooner within a matter of minutes, Marley woos crowds with his undeniable charisma and unique style. It is difficult to describe an Alex Marley performance to someone who hasn’t experienced it in the flesh. He collected generous accolades for his performance at “Livity” in commemoration of H.I.M (Haile Selassie 1) 116th birthday, performing alongside artists such as Etana, Taurus Riley, Lutan Fiya, I-Octane, and many others. His notable performance earned him an interview with The Gleaner Company, a popular newspaper in Jamaica.
Although a fan of his musically gifted cousins The Marley Brothers, he is not attempting to duplicate what’s been done already. Instead, he is forging a new path in roots music, building upon the solid foundation that has been laid by those who came before him. During our recent interview, Marley described his music as “roots reggae as the foundation with elements of dancehall, rock, hip hop and jazz. [I create] new sounds as I write all the instrumentation as well as the melody and lyrics to the song…being professionally trained in music.”
As Rasta artists often do, Marley utilizes the tools of Babylon to spread his message of universal peace, love, and liberation for all people. He has been very successful in using the internet and social networking sites to distribute his music and spread his message, all the while building his career one fan at a time. His music is currently played on many radio stations in Jamaica, the US, and UK. His new single “Lovely Woman” is currently getting radio air play and Yosef Imagination’s video for the song has garnered more than 20,000 views on You Tube.
“Lovely Woman” by Alex Marley
CLICK HERE to listen to a recent interview with Alex Marley (Added April 22, 2012).
In a pride of lions and lionesses where music is survival, this young lion stands proud as a unique and powerful voice for Rastafari in a world where Rastafari is needed more than ever.
Alex Marley is currently unsigned. He is working on new music with The Black Lion Band. Please visit him at:
Alex Marley on The Talent Catalogue
Post-Script: Upon publishing this piece I received questions from several readers about Alex Marley’s relationship to Bob Marley. According to Alex, his grandfather and Bob’s father are brothers.
Wilburn Anthony “Squidly” Cole is on the move once again. Who is Squidly Cole, you say – this singing drummer? Squidly Cole is a drummer, songwriter, producer and yes, singer. Cole is not just any drummer, but the drummer who recorded the demo for Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers’ Grammy Award-winning Conscious Party and laid down the wickedest reggae riddims of the late 1980’s and early 1990’s on ZM&MM’s classic, Grammy Award-winning albums Conscious Party and One Bright Day.
Squidly Cole, along with bassist Chris Meredith, was the backbone of the Grammy Award-winning Melody Makers – Conscious Party, Jahmekya, Joy and Blues, Free Like We Want 2 Be – there’s Squidly Cole “Beating Up Di Drum Again.” The list goes on to include most of ZM&MM albums plus Stephen Marley’s Grammy Award-nominated Mind Control and Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s Welcome to Jamrock. In fact, he has been the go-to drummer for the Marley family for more than 20 years. A member of the Stephen Marley Band, Squidly traveled the world in 2007 in support of Stephen’s debut album Mind Control, and returned just yesterday from a tour in support of Stephen’s Revelation Pt. 1: The Root of Life. He has played among many of the greatest Jamaican musicians including Mykal Rose, the Marley Brothers, Jimmy Cliff, Mikey General, Luciano, The Itals, Rita Marley, Gyptian, Capleton, Sizzla, Chuck Fenda, Etana, Buju Banton, Don Carlos, Dennis Brown, and Junior Reid just to name a few. Add to that list Alborosie, Bobby Digital, Mad Lion, KRS One, Sugar Minott, Anthony Cruz, Richie Spice, Terry Linen, Lady Saw, King Jammy’s, and Jon Jon Productions and you’ve got a virtual who’s who of popular reggae, dancehall, and hip-hop artists. Cole has crossed genres to support R&B and hip-hop musicians including Lauryn Hill, Amy Winehouse, Joss Stone, Bobby Digital, Trina Broussard, and many more. He currently runs his own recording studio, 100 Studio, which features the best blend of roots reggae culture and dancehall music from both seasoned musicians and the best of Jamaica’s up and coming talent.
Squidly made his debut in 1980 at the age of 13 playing drums on ”Black Black Roses” with Barrington Levy for Channel One Studio. At the age of 14, Squidly auditioned for legendary reggae artist and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Jimmy Cliff, resulting in a world tour to Europe and Africa. After touring for several years with Mykal Rose, formerly of Black Uhuru, and Dub Poet Mutabaruka, Squidly joined Ziggy Marley’s backing band in 1988, the Grammy Award-winning Melody Makers consisting of several of Jamaica’s most gifted musicians including, Sticky Thompson, Franklyn “Bubbler” Waul, Earl “Chinna” Smith, and Christopher Meredith. The run he made with ZM&MM spanned nearly 20 years and is marked by legendary performances all over the world along with several Grammy Award-winning albums.
In 1992, Cole produced Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s smash hit “Me Name Junior Gong” on Damian’s debut album Mr. Marley. He also recorded “Arm Your Soul” and “Lion In The Morning” on Julian Marley’s debut album Lion In The Morning. In 1998, he and Christopher Meredith co-produced Lauryn Hill’s retelling of the Bob Marley and the Wailers’ classic love song “Turn Your Lights Down Low” for Chant Down Babylon, an album in which famous Bob Marley songs were remixed with contemporary artists. The album was a smash hit, achieving platinum sales and the track “Turn Your Lights Down Low” was released as the single and music video for the album. Squidly’s work with Lauryn Hill on Chant Down Babylon led him to record Hill’s debut The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill, an album that garnered ten Grammy nominations at the 41st Grammy Awards, winning five, making Hill the first female recording artist to receive that number of nominations, as well as awards in one night.
In 2001, Squidly teamed up with the Marley brothers once again to record Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s Halfway Tree. The album was released on September 11, 2001 and received the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album. It was co-produced by Damian Marley and his brother Stephen Marley. He also appeared on Sizzla’s Da Real Thing in 2002. He beat up de drum again in 2007 ‘pon Kymani Marley’s surprise hit “Hustler” off of the album Radio. In 2010, Squidly appeared on Buju Banton’s Grammy Award-winning album Before The Dawn.
Squidly Cole’s Other credits include played drums on Barrington Levy’s smash hit “Black Roses” at just 13 years of age; played drums on Amy Winehouse’s debut studio album ‘Frank. Since its original release in the United Kingdom, “Frank’ has been reissued in Canada, the United States and Australia and was certified triple platinum by the British Phonographic Industry, denoting shipments in excess of 900,000 copies in the UK; appears on Grammy award-winning albums by Buju Banton, Sizzla, Capleton, Luciano, Bobby Digital, Damian Marley, Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers, Stephen Marley, and Lauren Hill. He also played drums on albums by roots reggae legends Yami Bolo, Junior Delgado, Mutabaruka, and Augustus Pablo. In addition to his work as a musician, Cole is a multi-talented artist who has also appeared in the films Mighty Quinn with Denzel Washington and Club Paradise with Jimmy Cliff.
On the ‘Bloodline’ tour of 2011, Cole played to enthusiastic crowds in Berkley, CA, Santa Rosa, CA, Oakland, CA, San Juan, CA Salinas, CA, Willits, CA and Sonoma, CA. He also played shows in Seattle, Providence, RI, Tampa, FL, and Denver, CO and has appeared on-stage with SOJA and Whiskey Avengers.
Squidly Cole is currently the drummer for the Stephen Marley Band and also plays drums on all Marley family projects. He will follow his two previous solo efforts, Babylon Days (2008) and Blood Line (2010), with ‘Known Betrayers,’ which is set for a 2013 release.
Bookings: Please contact 100studios@gmail or Squidlycole@gmail
July 7, 1975
Just dropping in to give you a quick update. I’m really busy with work and holiday stuff but working on some big things! Stay tuned! In the meantime, listen (download) to this legendary Bob Marley and the Wailers show (SBD) from July 1975.
1. “Trenchtown Rock”
2. “Burnin’ and Lootin'”
3. “Midnight Ravers”
4. “Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)”
5. “Rebel Music (3 O’clock Road Block)”
6. “No Woman No Cry”
7. “Kinky Reggae”
8. “Stir It Up”
9. “Lively Up Yourself”
10. “Get Up Stand Up”
11. “I Shot The Sheriff“
Bob Marley, vocals, rhythm guitar
Aston Barrett, bass
Carlton Barrett, drums
Al Anderson, lead guitar
Tyrone Downie, keyboards
Alvin Patterson, percussion
The I-Threes, backing vocals
This blog entry finds Bob Marley and the Wailers wrapping up the northeastern leg of the North American Kaya tour in 1978. They are driving into Lenox, MA from New York City where they played a show at Madison Square Garden the previous night. They will be playing to a sold-out crowd at New Bingley Hall in Staffordshire, UK a mere 3 days later.
As the coach pulls into Lenox, they pass the famed Tanglewood, an estate and music venue that is home to the Tanglewood Music Festival, Tanglewood Jazz Festival, and the Boston Symphony Orchestra. No, the Wailers will not be playing the famed Tanglewood today. They are booked at David Rothstein’s Music Inn, an estate turned hippie-hangout that once housed the famed Lenox School of Jazz. A place dedicated to the “presentation and perpetuation of the American, particularly African-American, musical tradition.”
Philip and Stephanie Barber purchased the estate in 1950 and instantly transformed it into The Music Inn, a place where musicians and artists would exchange musical theory, discuss the origins of music, and hold intimate house concerts at The Music Barn. By the early 1970’s, the Music Inn was a rocking outdoor concert venue sporting a new stage setup at the bottom of a meadow, making the concert experience “considerably more comfortable and relaxed.”
Bob Marley and the Wailers were scheduled to play The Music Inn twice on previous tours. A performance had originally been scheduled for the 1976 Rastaman Vibration tour, but it never happened. During the 1977 Exodus tour, a performance was scheduled for August, however, a nagging toe injury prevented Bob from playing live, and the remaining tour dates were cancelled. It seemed that the Wailers would never grace the grounds at The Music Inn. That is until June 18, 1978, a performance that is now part of Wailers folklore.
Berkshire Eagle, August 17, 1977
As the concert goers brave the rain of the day and populate the meadow lawn in front of the new stage, little do they know that they will be treated to one of the greatest performances that Bob Marley and the Wailers will ever give. While the mandated capacity of the venue is 5,000, nearly 10,000 people arrive for the show.
Bob decides to treat the eager audience by drastically changing the set list to include songs that are rarely played live. This kind gesture is not without risks however. How can a band be expected to play songs that they rarely, if ever, perform outside the studio? There is no time to rehearse these songs. It doesn’t matter now. Bob will lead, and they will follow.
The band takes the stage to a roaring crowd and Carlton Barrett prepares to lead them into the opener “Positive Vibration“. Bob changes his set list once again as he now notices that the rain is letting up and the sun is coming out. Bob makes the last minute decision to open the show with “Sun is Shining”, a stunning musical composition from the Kaya album featuring dub effects and a searing guitar solo from Junior Marvin. The performance of “Sun is Shining” at The Music Inn is one of only two live performances of the song-the other being at the Santa Barbara County Bowl on July 23, 1978. The lion roars through a set of rarely played songs including “So Much Things To Say”, “Who The Cap Fit”, “One Love/People Get Ready”, and the one and only live performance of “Time Will Tell”. The set list also includes “Natural Mystic”, “Rat Race”, and “Roots, Rock, Reggae”, Wailers’ standards that are rarely played during the 1978 Kaya Tour.
I had the good fortune of speaking with photographer Dave Suarez about the show. Here is what he had to say:
“The Music Inn was a beautiful place to see a concert. It had a medium sized amphitheater at the bottom of a comfortably sloped grassy hill. Although there were probably 8,000 people there, everyone picked a spot and was comfortable. I remember having no problem walking up to the front of the stage and taking pictures. It was a beautiful June day and Marley as usual put on an incredible show bordering on a religious experience.”
All in all, the show lasts for a stunning 2 hours and 10 minutes – one of the longest shows ever played by Bob Marley and the Wailers. Give thanks, the show audio was recorded and is presented here for listening and download. The photos , taken by photographer Dave Suarez, are some of the best I’ve seen of any live performance. They really capture the atmosphere surrounding the show, and what it must have been like for the lucky few who witnessed it.
For more information about this legendary show, photos, and stories from those who were in attendance please check out these links:
1. “Sun Is Shining“
2. “Positive Vibration”
3. “Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)”
4. “Concrete Jungle”
5. “Running Away” “Crazy Baldhead”
6. “Is This Love?”
7. “War” “No More Trouble”
8. “The Heathen
9. “Time Will Tell
10. “One Love / People Get Ready”
11. “Natural Mystic”
12. “So Much Things To Say”
13. “Who The Cap Fit”
14. “Rat Race”
15. “Roots, Rock, Reggae”
16. “I Shot The Sheriff”
17. “No Woman, No Cry”
18. “Lively Up Yourself”
20. “Easy Skanking”
21. “Punky Reggae Party” “Get Up, Stand Up”
Musicians and Players of Instruments:
Bob Marley – vocals, rhythm guitar
Aston Barrett – bass
Carlton Barrett – drums
Al Anderson – lead guitar
Junior Marvin – lead guitar
Earl Lindo – organ, clavinet
Tyrone Downie – keyboards
Alvin Patterson – percussion
Neville Garrick – percussion, art direction
The I-Threes – backing vocals
Give thanks to Roger Steffens for reviewing the entry for historical accuracy and for graciously providing his own insights. Also, I would like to thank photographer Dave Suarez for providing his own personal experience and for allowing me to use his photographs.