Playbill

Though the name originally was applied to the group put together by teenagers Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston, the Wailers eventually became a general description for Marley's backing band throughout the reggae king's career. That said, no one is going to question this current ensemble's claim to continuing Marley's legacy. Led by bassist Aston "Familyman" Barrett, Marley's longtime bandmate, arranger and confidant, this almost dirty-dozen ensemble features many former Marley road and studio sidemen, including (for the Houston gig, at least) keyboardist Tyrone Downie, guitarist Al Anderson and organist Earl "Wya" Lindo.

Consisting mostly of Marley classics, the show also offers a sprinkling of other Wailers tunes as well as some new songs, and Gary "Nesta" Pines does his best in the unenviable position as front man. (Wonder what Ziggy's doin' these days…) Barrett, one half of reggae's most influential rhythm section (brother Carlton, a drummer, was murdered in 1987), also has worked with a who's who of riddim giants including Tosh, Burning Spear and Lee "Scratch" Perry, the producer who originally used the Barretts in his seminal house band, the Upsetters. Though the legal wrangling over the estate of Bob Marley has been tortuous, his musical heirs and progeny are decidedly less twisted, and this version of the Wailers has true ties to the Tuff Gong.

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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero