Included here is text from an article about a Wailers’ show at Paul’s Mall in Boston, MA published in the Bay State Banner on November 22, 1973. The article references a show at Paul’s Mall on November 4, 1973. Biographers have documented their performance there from July 11-15, 1973, and a date of November 3, 1973. So it is possible that they actually played two shows there or the November 3, 1973 date is wrong.
Bay State Banner (1965-1979), November 22, 1973
Author: Bourne, Kay
Start Page: 10
“What is reggae? To me it’s steady beating your head against the wall music. Nothing you can do about it, but you’re doing it anyway,” said one man from Roxbury who had gone down to Paul’s Mall for The Wailers’ show there November fourth.
Reggae is also relating‑to‑back‑home music.
And it is easy‑to‑dance‑to music because there are no special steps required, just let youself go.
But for most of the 300 crowded into the first show Sunday, reggae seems to be listening music. This was an attentive, silent crowd, and when one person did call out, it was not for a drink, but a request for a number off The Wailers’ new album, “Burnin.”
What is it that a largely white, young audience in Boston is listening for in black music from the islands?
Unlike jazz there were no virtuoso performances and The Wailers don’t use the differentiatbeats or variety of emotions of R&B. It is rhythmic, but very few in this audience were even swaying slightly.
Perhaps, the politics of the lyrics is what they were loving. “Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights.”; “This morning I woke up in a curfew, of God, I was a prisoner too ‑ yeah, could not recognize the faces standing over me, they were all dressed in uniforms of brutality”; “Be not selfish in your doings, Pass It On, help your brothers in their needs, Pass It On.”
The one request called out was for a song called “I shot the Sheriff.” It’s about a man who’s on the run because he is accused of shooting the deputy, but he says, “I shot the sheriff, but I didn’t shoot no deputy.,…I shot the sheriff, but I swear it was in selfdefense.”
Backstage, between the sets, composer of most of The Wailers’ songs Bob Marley puts more of an emphasis on the religious nature of the music and the musicians, than on anything else.
“Christ’s new name is Rastafari,” said Marley.
Marley said that as a teenager he became disatisfied with the church of his parents and has turned to the book of Revelations and within himself for a way ‑ “This is my church,” he said pointing to himself.
The Rastifarians talk of Ethiopia as a homeland, and they revere Haile Selassie, Emperor of that north African nation.
One song on the Wailer’s new album is “Rasta Man Chant”, which begins “I hear the words of the Rasta Man say, Babylon you Throne gone down, down, down, Babylon you throne gone down.” Marley puts the sentiment another way backstage, “man created his own destruction…so those who sewed in tears, shall reap in jive, mon.”
Raggae has been a phenomenon on the Jamaican scene since the 1950’s when the youth of the streets got fed up with the calypso.
First there was ska, then rocksteady and now reggae.
Not all reggae musicians are Rastifarians, but Marley said “we are the generation that see God.”
Boston is the only U S stop The Wailers made this trip, and Marley said of the broad popularity of reggae music here, “People turn on quicker in Boston than elsewhere.”
Marley said that wherever he goes he expects, “dig this, I always expect what I look for. What you are looking for you see. I expect a message of revelation to come from the right here.”
“It is a conscious thing to get together in love and harmony,” he said.
Or as the lyrics of one of his songs puts it “got to build on one foundation…Got to come together ’cause we’re birds of a feather…or there will never be no love at all.”
“This is reggae music,” said Bob Marley. “The thing is to be free.”
The Wailers Live at Paul’s Mall, Boston July 11, 1973
Bob Marley, vocals, rhythm guitar
Peter Tosh, vocals, lead guitar
Joe Higgs, vocals, percussion
Aston Barrett, bass
Carlton Barrett, drums
Earl ‘Wya’ Lindo, keyboards
1 Intro > Lively Up Yourself
2 400 Years
3 Stir it Up
4 Slave Driver
5 Stop that Train
6 Kinky Reggae
7 Concrete Jungle
8 Get up Stand Up > Outro (DJ Banter)