Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 27th 2013 Contents B12
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More than 30 years after Bob Mar-
ley s death, the reggae icon s music is
as potent as ever and his bassist Aston
"Family Man" Barrett is now taking
The Wailers on the road to play Marley s
classic compilation album Legend live.
This week, Bob Marley s album Leg-
end is at number 55 in the UK chart
and number 131 in the US.
That may sound pretty unremark-
able. But given the thousands of albums
that have come and gone since Legend s
release 29 years ago, to still be near the
charts at all is impressive.
It is proof that Legend is one of the
very few albums in the history of music
to have remained consistently popu-
lar.Global sales are estimated at any-
where between 25 million to 40 million,
and it has spent longer on the US charts
than any album except Pink Floyd s
The Dark Side of the Moon.
And Marley himself, who died in
1981 aged 36, has stayed frozen in the
world s cultural consciousness as a
musical genius and a messenger of
peace and unity.
One of his foot soldiers in this mortal
world is his former bassist Aston "Fam-
ily Man" Barrett, now the only member
of the current incarnation of Marley s
band The Wailers to have played with
He leads the band with the aim, he
says, of "keeping the spirit of Bob Mar-
ley alive through the reggae music."
Barrett has a deliciously deep, mellow
voice, a treacly Jamaican drawl that
oozes warmth and humour.
He is so laid-back and his accent so
strong that it is a challenge to follow
his flow, his words often seeming to
Asked why Marley s music has stood
the test of time, he replies that a lot
of people are making music with new
technology, but they are mostly rehash-
ing what has gone before.
"What is there is what has already
been created by the originators," he
says. "And then here comes the imi-
tators." He lets out a throaty chuckle.
Barrett is clear when he says he never
gets bored of playing classic tracks like
Stir It Up or Redemption Song. "Music
is life, you know? It s also like a gym,"
he says. "It keeps you happy. It s exer-
The Wailers have remained active
since Marley s death, albeit with numer-
ous line-up changes and various singers
filling Marley s shoes.
The current frontman is Duane
"Danglin " Anglin, who has been on
the road with the group since 2010.
The power of the music lies in its
message, he believes. "It was relevant
then and it s relevant now and I m sure
it will be relevant in the future.
"One Love and Get Up, Stand Up
and Slave Driver---those songs are very
relevant songs for anyone who s suf-
fering or has ever been dealt any kind
of injustice or inequality.
"It s because of that positive message
that it s timeless music. People will
always be able to relate to it."
Wherever they go around the world,
Anglin says he sees fans of all ages,
creeds and cultures looking back at
him, usually singing along at the tops
of their voices, even if they do not speak
"That s one of the things that res-
onates with me," he says. "Knowing
that, even though they don t speak the
language... they can sing the words and
understand the emotions.
"This music cuts deep. Family Man
always says that reggae music is the
heartbeat of the people, so we keep the
heartbeat pumping so people can stay
In taking Marley s place, Anglin is
always likely to suffer when fans com-
pare the two. But he says that is not
"The crowd understands that there s
no replacing or duplicating or replicating
Bob Marley," he says. "I can simply just
try to carry on the legacy and carry on
the tradition through performances."
The last time Aston "Family Man"
Barrett was in the headlines, it was
when he lost a High Court battle for
£60m in unpaid royalties in 2006.
He claimed he was instrumental in
creating the band s sound and their
success. But a judge bemoaned his
"hazy" recollection of events and unre-
How is his relationship with the Mar-
ley family now?
He replies that: "Everything is pause,
like it s never happen. It s like secret
service, secret society." Another chuckle.
"It s gone away like it never occur."
He adds: "In business you do not
get what you deserve---only what you
Apart from his musical achievements,
one fact that is always mentioned in
stories about Barrett is that he has 52
children. Is that really true?
"Ah, it s only 23 daughters and 18
sons," he replies. "It s 41. In the court
battle, they do that to me, say I ve got
52. I am the family man. I m gifted with
"And 23 grandchildren. And two
great-grand." He then veers back to the
subject of royalties and recognition. "I
deserve from the revenue for my input
over the years.
"I just keep playing the music, keep
making the music. I am the one who
is the architect of reggae." (BBC)
Bob Marley is remembered as a musical genius and a messenger of peace and unity.
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