by Bill Forman
So if you're tempted to go see the Wailers when they play Red Rocks with Galactic and Umphrey's McGee this coming Saturday, you might well wonder, which Wailers would that be?
Well, obviously not that first one with Bob Marley (who's dead), Peter Tosh (who's dead) and Bunny Wailer (who's alive but too stoned right now to make it up here from Jamaica).
Nor will there be any Marley family members, at least not in the genealogical sense. The version of the Wailers that's touring through Colorado is centered around Aston "Family Man" Barrett, who was the bassman in both Bob Marley & the Wailers and Lee Perry's Upsetters. Barrett's musical legacy also includes being the mentor of Robbie Shakespeare, reggae's other great bass player, who backed Wailers co-founder Peter Tosh.
To further complicate matters, there's also another group on tour that's calling itself the Original Wailers. That one features former Wailers guitarist Al Anderson as well as Junior Marvin, the Wailers' replacement vocalist after Marley's death. Junior Marvin is not to be confused with Junior Murvin, who scored a hit in Jamaica with "Police and Thieves," which was later covered by the Clash.
Got all that? Yeah, me neither. Anyway, enjoy the show.
You can also click on the video below to watch the band during a recent New York City workout. Definitely more showy than the band that originally backed Marley, but that's not such a bad thing: