The Wailing Souls Shows
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About The Wailing Souls
More than 3 decades have passed since those early days at Jamaica’s “Reggae University” Studio One. The wealth of talent that emerged from that single institution is almost mind boggling. While some careers may have waned and others were tragically cut short, The Wailing Souls have been, and continue to be a vital presence on the landscape of Reggae Music. The band has seen their fair share of band members come and go. They’ve been associated with a string of record companies including their own “Massive” record label and were the first artists to be signed to Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong label.
The Wailing Souls first emerged as the Renegades in the late 60’s, then a trio which included original member Buddy Haye. After the departure of Haye more than a handful of members came and went from the band including Garth Dennis of Black Uhuru and Joe Higgs. It was as a quartet during the seventies and early eighties that the group enjoyed some of their greatest success as they recorded such classics as: Jah Give Us Life , Firehouse Rockand Bredda Gravalicious Having firmly secured their place among Reggae’s royalty, the Wailing Souls are not content to exist on their past glories and are busy forging ahead to new success. Today’s incarnation of the group is the Los Angeles based duo of Winston “Pipe” Matthews and Lloyd “Bread” McDonald. Pipe who has been singing since childhood was well on his way and had already recorded for the legendary Prince Buster by the age of 12. “Pipe got his name from singing,” Explained Bread. “When he was a kid everyone said he had great pipes and he pipes out great sounds.” Although some are quick to compare his voice to that of Bob Marley, he maintains a cadence and style that unmistakably his own.
The duo’s recent release entitled Equality is a showcase not only for Pipe’s distinctive instrument but is a prime example of what happens after 30 plus years of working together. The first feeling one gets upon listening to the album is that you may have heard the tracks some place before. The subtle harmonies and live instruments give these all new songs a feeling of familiarity that’s all too welcome. Bread admits that there was a conscious decision to minimize the input of digital instruments. “We wanted to have that live feeling as much as we possibly could. Digital is great but we still wanted to capture that live feeling.” It also doesn’t hurt to have the “Riddim Twins” Sly and Robbie taking care of the rhythm section either. The band decided to enlist the help of their old friends after it became apparent while on tour in Europe that the older type tunes were what the fans really went wild for. The duo garnered a Grammy nomination for their “Psychedelic Souls” album which covered classic pop hits. Perhaps for this reason people are a little surprised that they returned to their vintage roots sound. However there was never any doubt in the band’s mind that they would return. “We would have done this eventually” says Bread “Because that’s really who we are and even before we went to Europe in 1999, we produced an album with Freddie McGregor titled Tension which is all roots”.
The Wailing Souls recently returned to Jamaica to launch Equality and to shoot the video for their leadoff single Dont Say The duo which hails from Trenchtown not only shot the video in their hometown where they grew up but they also contributed $50,000JA to the Trench Town Cultural Center toward the development of the Bob Marley Culture Yard. “The launch in Jamaica was very successful,” says bread “the responses are great from RJR, KLAS, IRIE-FM, Radio Two, Roots radio, all major newspapers like the Gleaner, Observer, Star, X News and major TV coverage”. A party at the Terra Nova hotel brought the stars out for the albums launch. In attendance were Sly Dunbar, Third World’s Cat Coore, Bunny and Judge from the Mighty Diamonds, original Wailers’ Seiko, Sky Juice, Tiger, producer Bobby Digital and Stone Love’s Winston ‘Wee Pow’ Powell. An all-star release party in LA, following the release of the album on July 11th also brought out the stars to celebrate the US release of the the album. Next up for the Wailing Souls is a worldwide tour , they already play to sold out venues in Europe and Equality just may be the album to help them to conquer America. Thirty years and still going strong. Still wailing after all these years.
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