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Wailing Blues

“One of my favourite books ever is John Masouri’s brilliant Wailing Blues: The Story Of Bob Marley’s Wailers which is basically the autobiography of Family Man Barrett and his drummer brother Carlton, the very heart of the Wailers’ sound since 1970. Every song done by Bob since then is deconstructed in this invaluable book.”

Roger Steffens, in his book So Much Things To Say - The Oral History Of Bob Marley, published in 2017 by Norton.

Wailing Blues: The Story of Bob Marley’s Wailers.

Omnibus Press, 2008.

ISBN 978-1-84609-689-1.

Bob Marley and the Wailers have sold more than 250 million records worldwide. Their phenomenal success has led to Marley being enshrined as a cultural icon, more popular than Elvis or John Lennon. Jamaica’s finest export is a global superstar, yet the musicians who played on all those hit singles and albums have been sidelined and left with little to show for their efforts.

This book aims to put the story straight by telling of their musical achievements, and also what happened to them after Marley died in 1981. Written in conjunction with Wailers’ bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett, it gives valuable insights into how the music was made, and also the life and times of reggae’s most enduring figurehead. It ends with Family Man having his day in court and losing everything he had – including the right to appeal – after being defeated in his bid for a share of the Marley millions. The injustices, greed, betrayals and even murders that led up to that fateful day are all documented here, and make harrowing reading for anyone wanting to look more deeply into the Bob Marley legend.


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