My first taste of Reggae Music came during a JA visit in the early 1970’s. I actually picked up my first Reggae LP (which you can listen to on the Record Player Page) after listening to Leslie Butler play piano by the pool at what was then the Playboy Club in Ocho Rios. A few years later I was introduced to the magical music of Bob Marley at a penthouse party of top Urban marketing executives in NYC. Bob Marley was playing on a record player and that was how it all began.
At the time I was VP of Business Development and Director of Music Marketing for The Westwood One Radio Networks. At Westwood One I had the opportunity to become friends with Roger Steffens – the world’s top authority on Bob Marley, and Timothy White who hosted one of the WW1 radio programs. Timothy wrote one of the best books about Bob Marley entitled, Catch A Fire. Timothy is best known for his work with Rolling Stone Magazine where he became editor-in-chief of Billboard until 2002. Timothy wrote many articles that enthusiastically promoted Marley and Reggae Music. During this time, while it had little to do with Reggae Music, I was responsible for launching a live concert program from the Apollo Theater in NYC. There I met a wonderful guy by the name of Clarence Jones and had the spectacular adventure of working with him on a satellite broadcast of Carnival from Trinidad. With hotels all full, I got to live in the home of a local family for a couple of weeks. Their company and hospitality – along with all the amazing music – made this one of the best adventures I had ever had. A couple of years later it was actually topped when in 1984 I became marketing director for Reggae SumFest in Jamaica. At that time I launched REGGAE.com and did daily updates on the festival from JA. (you can visit my SumFest Reports through this link).
REGGAE.com went on to be an IRIE success with millions of cyber visitors weekly. After moving to South Florida I worked with local media and started my own marketing company called PreviewNet. Among the things we worked on at Reggae.com was the promotion of several music events produced by Luther Mack Productions. Luther is another great friend and I am so appreciative of the work I got to do with him and all the artists I got to be acquainted with.
REGGAE.com has now become RASJOHNMON.com and the PositiVibes can also be found at RadioReggae.com. We are very pleased to bring you the best in vital streaming Reggae Music coming to you from Rasjohnmon’s Club Tropical.
“Unity is the world’s key, and racial harmony.
Until the white man stops calling himself white
and the black man stops calling himself black,
we will not see it.
All the people on earth are just one family.
Life…it’s life we deal with. No death.
He that sees the light and knows the light shall live.
When the time comes, people will seek the truth in all things.
They get it when they are ready to hear it.
Man can’t do without God.
Just like you thirsty, you have to drink water.
You just can’t do without God.
I pledged to work for righteousness.
God’s given me inspiration.
So me personally as a man is nothin’
without the inspiration of Jah.”
From ‘In His Own Words’ compiled by Ian McCann (Omnibus Press 47052)
Below is from the Kaya Tour Program including Rasjohnmon’s John ticket stub from June 17, 1978 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The two color photos at the top of the page are Ras John photos from this show.
01. Soul Shakedown Party (Afrodisiac Sound System Remix) 4:04
02. Lively Up Yourself (Bombay Dub Orchestra Remix) 4:07
03. Duppy Conqueror (Fort Knox Five Remix) 4:30
04. Sun Is Shining (Yes King Remix) 5:18
05. Soul Rebel (Afrodisiac Sound System Remix) 4:38
06. African Herbsman (King Kooba Remix) 4:05
07. Don’t Rock My Boat (STUHR Remix) 4:41
08. Small Axe (Paul & Price Remix) 4:52
09. Rainbow Country (DJ Spooky’s Subliminal Funk Remix) 4:21
10. Trenchtown Rock (Trio ElÃ©trico Remix) 4:53
11. 400 Years (Jimpster Remix) 6:20
12. Sun Is Shining (DJ Dolores Remix) 3:42
CLICK HERE to Listen to this story… by Alex Chadwick
Bob Marley performs in San Diego, 1978.
Bruce W. Talamon
Day to Day, February 4, 2005 Â· Between 1978 and 1980, photographer Bruce Talamon toured with reggae singer Bob Marley and shot some of the most popular images of the musician. He talks about his experiences touring with Marley — who would have turned 60 on Februrary 6 — with NPR’s Alex Chadwick.
Many of the photos were published in Talamon’s book, Bob Marley: Spirit Dancer. The images remain an indelible portrait of an artist at the height of his creative power.
On these pages you will find Bob Marley lyrics and quotes, some great Bob Marley pictures including Ras John’s Bob Marley pictures from Madison Square Garden.
The Robert Marley (Bob Marley) Tribute at Ras John’s reggae.previewnet.com – Biography – Bob Marley Lyrics – Pictures – Bob Marley Story, Marley Foundation and Festivals and Restaurants and Wailers Tour Dates plus Bob Marley Interviews and quotes.
Old pirates, yes, they rob I;
Sold I to the merchant ships,
Minutes after they took I
From the bottomless pit. But my hand was made strong
By the ‘and of the Almighty.
We forward in this generation
Won’t you help to sing
This songs of freedom
‘Cause all I ever have:
None but ourselves can free our minds.
Have no fear for atomic energy,
‘Cause none of them can stop the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look? Ooh!
Some say it’s just a part of it:
We’ve got to fullfil the book.
This songs of freedom-
‘Cause all I ever have:
None but ourselves can free our mind.
Wo! Have no fear for atomic energy,
‘Cause none of them-a can-a stop-a the time.
How long shall they kill our prophets,
While we stand aside and look?
Yes, some say it’s just a part of it:
We’ve got to fullfil the book.
Won’t you have to sing
This songs of freedom? –
‘Cause all I ever had:
Redemption songs –
All I ever had:
These songs of freedom,
Songs of freedom.
Rehearsal Session in NY on May 31, 1978
Gabon, Africa 1978
Highlights of Apollo Shows
LIVE with Bob Marley
My first experience of Bob Marley and The Wailers was in 1973. I was in an apartment in New York City and I remember I was sitting in the living room on the floor and talking with friends sitting on the couch across a coffee table in front of me. It was then that I heard a beat and a voice from the turntable playing music in the next room. I was distracted from the conversation and got up from the floor and made my way to the turntable. The party disappeared into the background and I had to know more about this music that called out with an intensity I had not heard before. The spinning label said “Catch A Fire” and the band was Bob Marley and The Wailers. A friend had seen the band playing a double bill with Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band at Max’s Kansas City a few weeks earlier in July. He had told me both bands were going to be big but he had no idea what he had witnessed.
The next day, I went out and bought “Catch A Fire” and “Burnin'” and listened to nothing else for several days. 60’s and 70’s rock had owned my turntable before – much of it was music with a message. Marley took this to a new level of passion with a riddum that could not be resisted. The songs presented stories of persecution but always filled with hope. Many of the songs were filled with a Spiritual energy that made them feel like hymns from the inner city. They were songs from the Concrete Jungle telling a story that would inspire not only Bob’s friends and neighbors in Kingston, Jamaica but people of all walks of life, races, nationalities and levels on the economic ladder. Bob Marley’s lyrics are enlivened by compassion and a determination to refuse to settle for a less than satisfactory status quo. Get up stand up, stand up for your rights! Who the cap fits, let them wear it. Jammin’ and easy skanking, every ting gonna be all right.
If you got to see Bob live, you know. I have been lucky enough to see most of the top acts of the 60’s and 70’s live but the Marley shows were special… they were on a different plane. The first show I saw was the RastaMan Vibration Tour in late April 1976 at the Beacon Theater on Broadway in NYC. The Beacon was a top Rock concert Hall and drew fans from New York University, Columbia University the boroughs and Jersey. All the shows were sold out with fans of the Grateful Dead, The Allman Brothers, Doors, Jefferson Airplane and the like who had all be captured by Marley’s Reggae Vibe. Lot’s of trips to Jamaica were planned those nights.
All this time, I was buying up Reggae records from other artists – I figured if Bob’s stuff was this good, there had to be other great stuff out there too. Culture, Joe Higgs, Burning Spear, Third World, Ras Michael, Lee Perry, Big Youth, U-Roy, The Heptones, Jimmy cliff… the list and my music collection grew and grew. I knew BIG TINGS A GWON.
When I heard Bob Marley and The Wailers were going to be at Madison Square Garden, I waited on line over night to get tickets. I got a ticket for myself and my little sister – I’d taken her to one of the last shows at the Fillmore East when she was 13-14 years old – I hadn’t wanted her to miss being in that theater and this was the same kind of thing – I wanted her to get to see Bob. That night, as we walked in the Garden it was transformed into a magical place. It was a little like the energy being there for a Grateful Dead show but much deeper and more mystical – there was a natural mystic blowing through the air, can’t keep them down – if you listen carefully now you will hear. It was a totally mixes audience from Rastas in Regal Garb to yuppies in jeans and t-shirts to N.Y’s hip and connected “cool” crowd – it was the hot ticket in town that June 17 night in 1978. On another page you can see the ticket stub and program cover. I shot some great Bob Marley pictures at the Garden – the Ras John Reggae logo is from one of the shots I go that night as are the two stage shots you’ll find. The memory lives on.
I was working at NBC and later Westwood One where I got to know Timothy White and Roger Steffens who worked with me at The Source (NBC Rock Radio Network) and then when Timothy was doing Rock Stars for Westwood One. Timothy wrote one of the best books on Marley, “Catch A Fire” and Roger “Rojah” Steffens is probably Bob’s biggest fan along with being a serious historian of Reggae Music with Marley front and center of course. There’s so much thing to say… it is quite an amazement and joyous wonder how this reluctant Messiah from the hills of JA went on to have such a monumental impact on so many peoples lives. He spawned a whole culture. Robert Nesta Marley brought the world together with Music and delivered powerful messages – Robert Marley’s lyrics and riddums – when it hit you feel no pain. I got to see Peter Tosh a couple of times, with one of those times a very special night sitting right by the stage with only a couple of hundred other people at NYC’s Bottom Line. It was a great show with the Tamlins providing harmony but no match for the mystical power of Bob.
I got to see The Wailers next in October of 1979 at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, NY. Walking along the street one day in the City, I saw a poster – you can see it on another page here – Betty Wight (a soul/gospel singer) and Bob Marley and The Wailers at The Apollo. I was not going to miss it – it was one of the few times Bob got to play to a predominantly Black audience in the States – Bob played every show like he had something to prove and won the heart and soul of the crowd each night. The Legend LIVE show that is on DVD from Santa Barbara, CA takes place about a month later and demonstrates the power of the band as well as anything I’ve seen on recordings except maybe the Roxy Show CD. You can get more info on other pages here. I headed home after the show by myself, thanking Jah for the privilege of being there and wondering yet again of the magic and wonder of the world we live in.
I was to see Bob Marley and the Wailers one more time and at that time, I had no idea that this was to be Bob’s second to last live performance ever. The album Uprising was released in May 1980 and the band completed a major tour of Europe, where they played their biggest ever concert, to a hundred thousand people in Milan. The U.S. portion of the tour kicked off at Madison Square Garden in NYC. The atmosphere in The Garden was again mystical, other worldly – there’s really no other way I can think to explain it – I have been to lots of concerts and event at The Garden – it is strange because the cavernous space somehow felt smaller, more intimate. There was definitely that Natural Mystic in the air – in my memory, the two Garden shows are merged into one extended vision of intense energy and a spacey, trippy haze. That’s not just because mass quantities of upful herb were being toked in the huge building – it is because the event and the audience together produced this mystic magical vibe that was inescapable. When the band launched into the opening of Natural Mystic, the attention of the thousands of people lucky enough to be in NYC that night and at the show was immediately riveted on the stage. Moments later Bob came dancing and skanking out to center stage. For the next hour and a half, this Spiritual Warrior, musician, artist, poet – a reluctant Messiah by the name of Robert Nesta Marley again captivated the masses with his powerful positive and vibrant energy. By the time the encore of Could You Be Loved finished, the audience was filled with satisfied souls celebrating what they had just witnessed. By the time the co-billed Commodores hit the stage, they were left to play to an almost empty arena.
The next day Bob would collapse on a run in Central Park. It was thought he was suffering from exhaustion but it was to sadly turn out to be much more serious. In July 1977, Bob had been diagnosed with acral lentiginous melanoma, a form of malignant melanoma. He did not realize it yet but the disease had spread thorough his body. Bob wanted to press on – he was still on a mission, a mission of taking his Jah inspired message to the world – but, on September 23, 1980, Bob Marley was to play his final concert ever at the Stanley Theater in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. A pretty good recording of this show exists and it is testament to his power as an artist – although he was already very sick, the sold out crowd in Pittsburg still got to see one last, stunning show. That last night, Bob ended the show with an acoustic version of Redemption Song (the recording of the song from that night is the final track on Marley Songs of Freedom 4-cd box set). There would be a three song encore but Redemption Song was poetically perfect as a closing note. “There was a feeling of a whole era coming to a climax. Everyone felt he knew something was going to happen,” said Rita Marley. “Redemption Song is like a final statement in a career, a summation of all of the themes and thought that had created it” – to quote the liner notes for Songs of Freedom. “We’ve got to fulfil the book.”
– JB, webmaster reggae.previewnet.com