~Z.T.~ In making the festival rounds this summer, I noticed that the artist whose music lives on the most is The Grateful Dead. By a lot. But after that, I’d have to say it’s Bob Marley. There are almost too many acts playing the dead, but most do it well. Marley covers are generally pretty solid as well, even though Elan and Stephen lean too heavily on trying to be Bob instead of being a vessel for his music. I’m sorry to say I didn’t know much about Bunny Wailer going in, but I’ll try to pepper some info in for you.
The soundtrack to festival parking lots everywhere.
I mistakenly called Bunny Wailer “Bunny Marley” in a twitter. It was a fairly easy mistake to mistake, what with Stephen, Damian, Ziggy, Julian and Ky-Mani all performing under the Marley name. I’ve seen Stephen and Damian. Stephen’s the one who really sounds like Bob. Elan (with The Wailers) sounds dead on and even emulates Bob’s moves. Bunny Wailer doesn’t much sound like Bob, but he evokes his spirit the best and feels more natural than all the others.Bunny Wailer asked us do do away with all -isms. His outfit was even sparklier than this one. Known as the third key singer of Bob Marley and The Wailers (behind Bob and Peter Tosh) his solo career has garnered him Grammy’s for best reggae album in 1990, ’94 and ’96.
Like most old legends, he came out with a grand spectacle after his band had been playing for at least 20 minutes. His voice is soothing and easily the least hoarse of the 60+ year olds I’ve heard this summer. He has a big presence on stage and manages to make it feel like you’re at a Bob Marley show, without trying to sound or act like him. Bunny is his own man and he’s a hell of a man at that. He was constantly giving shout outs to legends like Toots and Bob and Tosh.
Bunny wailer is only a month older than my dad. Also, his dad had a kid with Bob Marley’s mom. Doesn’t that make them step brothers? (p.s. see “Step Brothers”)
Bunny knew his audience well and played to their interests, covering the big reggae hits, but also sneaking in some deeper tracks as well. We heard “Trenchtown Rock” while waiting in the epic jerk chicken line and found Paul and Jordan just in time to eat our sandwiches for Peter Tosh’s “Legalize It.”Classics like “No Woman, No Cry” and “Easy Skankin'” were great sing-a-longs on a perfectly warm night in late August. Jahh. Stay Irie, my friends.