The Original Wailers
Inside Miami’s Island Lounge
Review and Photos by M. Peggy Quattro
It was a muggy Magic City night when the Original Wailers brought their roots rock reggae to downtown. Wrapping up a series of South Florida shows inside the open-air Finnegan’s on the [Miami] river, the casual waterfront locale was filled with an eclectic mix of fans in high spirits, eagerly waiting to greet the musical legends. The Original Wailers production was the debut for Island Lounge, the Caribbean arm of the Miami-based event and promotion company specializing in rock and urban Latin music.
Guitarists Junior Marvin and Al Anderson, from the late-70s version of Bob Marley & The Wailers, joined forces and took to the road to promote this latest adaptation of the Wailers configuration. Sadly, many who came to witness the genius of Aston “Familyman” Barrett were disappointed to learn that the renowned bassist and former bandleader was part of another ensemble called The Wailers Band.
The Original Wailers kicked off their 90-minute set with a string of Bob Marley favorites, including “Stir it Up,” “I Shot the Sheriff,” “Get Up, Stand Up,” “Could You Be Loved,” and the ever inspiring “Exodus.” Although the young crowd was up singing and dancing, many in attendance were not even born when the era of Bob Marley & the Wailers took the musical world by storm.
Rounding out the Original Wailers were Rohan Reid on bass, Papa Nyarkoh on drums, with George Kouakou and Christian Cowlin on keyboards. The power background vocals of Erica Newell, reminiscent of I Three member Marcia Griffiths, was joined by songstress Rochelle Bradshaw.
A surprising deflection to what could have been a predictable show occurred when Junior Marvin’s three sons – Richard, Rory, and David – came bounding on stage to add a fresh hip-hop flavor to the reggae mix. Their youthful uncle, William Whitty, joined them for their performance. The young crowd responded favorably to the young quartet, who also later returned to join the Original Wailers for a rousing encore.
The Original Wailers are touring throughout the remainder of the year, and a new CD will be released this summer. It is reported that Wya Lindo, Seeco Patterson, and Tyrone Downing, all former Wailers, will be joining the Original Wailers line-up along the way.