Wailing Souls interview.........

Discussion in 'Reggae Bashment' started by L u c y, Aug 20, 2010.

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  1. L u c y

    L u c y (Administrator) SWERVE

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    Interview: Wailing Souls

    "Everything has come back around to the roots. Even in the United States or Japan, it's the roots that people want to hear"

    The Wailing Souls are in many ways the quintessential reggae harmony group. They formed in the ghetto of Trench Town, were coached by the late great Joe Higgs, and were imbued with a similar but distinct sound from the Wailers. But while Bob Marley went on to become a mainstream music icon, the Wailing Souls remained popular in the dancehalls of Jamaica from their early works for Coxsone Dodd at Studio 1, through the mid-to-late-seventies at Channel One, to the eighties recording for Henry Junjo Lawes and beyond. Back in May, Angus Taylor caught up with core members Winston “Pipe” Matthews and Lloyd “Bread” McDonald at Harlesden’s famous Hawkeye Record store while they were visiting for their sell-out UK tour.

    Interview: Wailing Souls

    "Everything has come back around to the roots. Even in the United States or Japan, it's the roots that people want to hear"

    The Wailing Souls are in many ways the quintessential reggae harmony group. They formed in the ghetto of Trench Town, were coached by the late great Joe Higgs, and were imbued with a similar but distinct sound from the Wailers. But while Bob Marley went on to become a mainstream music icon, the Wailing Souls remained popular in the dancehalls of Jamaica from their early works for Coxsone Dodd at Studio 1, through the mid-to-late-seventies at Channel One, to the eighties recording for Henry Junjo Lawes and beyond. Back in May, Angus Taylor caught up with core members Winston “Pipe” Matthews and Lloyd “Bread” McDonald at Harlesden’s famous Hawkeye Record store while they were visiting for their sell-out UK tour.

    How did you and Pipe first meet?

    BREAD: We grew up together in Trench Town “from kids in short pants” as we used to say. Before we were even 12 years old we met each other. Pipe went to Denham Town school and I went to Greenwich Town school so we grew up together.

    What were your first impressions of each other?

    BREAD: As a boy you gravitate towards people who share similar interests and we always shared a love of music and a love of sports. So those things drew us together as it did a lot of our friends. You see, among the people we grew up with in Trench Town at the time, the elder boys were like Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Joe Higgs and Delroy Wilson so we always had the music there with us. But we also had the sports because we had Boys' Town Club next door which produced some of the greatest cricketers in Jamaica - most notably a guy called Collie Smith who played for the West Indies - and the best soccer team. We've always been sports and music oriented.
    Who was your biggest musical inspiration when growing up?

    BREAD: I had a lot of influences. There were influences from abroad like the Temptations and the Impressions. I always loved those groups. Even the Beatles who were one of our favourite groups growing up in Jamaica. And from the Jamaican side it was always people like the Wailers, Delroy Wilson, Joe Higgs, as well as Ken Boothe and Slim Smith.
    test
  2. L u c y

    L u c y (Administrator) SWERVE

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    Now Joe Higgs played an especially big part in your development didn't he?

    BREAD: He was a foundation singer in our community at the time and he was also responsible for bringing the Wailers together and teaching them the basics like harmonising and stuff like that. Then he did the same thing with us. We met Joe and by that time the Wailers had already got themselves established. Joe was like that. It was not only us. There were other Jamaican singers who he helped along the way. He took us under his wing and taught us how to harmonise, how to make good songs, and taught us the business part of it, saying we must join up with the PRS. Joe Higgs was a man who taught us a lot of stuff in many ways, musically and businesswise.

    Joe Higgs took us under his wing and taught us how to harmonise, how to make good songs, and taught us the business part of it, saying we must join up with the PRS

    Over the years there has been some disagreement between Jamaican musicians and writers about where reggae was invented. Would you say it was invented in Trench Town?

    BREAD: I would have to say yes. Trench Town is like a musical college. If you know the history of Jamaican music and you go back to the beginning you'll find it was the guys from Trench Town. You see, everybody lived in Trench Town one way or another. Even the guys from the Skatalites, a couple of them came from Trench Town. Then you had people like Higgs and Wilson who were from Trench Town. Before them you had Bunny and Skully who were from Trench Town. Lascelles Perkins was from Trench Town. Alton Ellis, Delroy Wilson and the list goes on and on. And of course the Wailers were from Trench Town so Jamaican music was born right there.

    Bob Marley and the whole group sounded like the Wailers due to the harmony structures and all that. We grew up together, we rehearsed together and we sang together. Bob was like a big brother for us.

    If you know the history of Jamaican music and you go back to the beginning you'll find it was the guys from Trench Town

    Your eponymous first LP for Studio 1 is one of the most perfect reggae albums ever made, yet it doesn't get reissued so often. Why is such an excellent album so hard to get hold of?

    BREAD: The producer of the album [Coxsone Dodd] had the master tapes and it's always up to him. He didn't have international distribution on that first album - he did everything himself. And now that he's dead it's even harder to get a hold of. But I think it's mainly because of the distribution. Back in the days when we had that record released there wasn't a lot of international distribution for reggae. It was just mainly England. So I think that's a part of it because most of our other records we have done more recently in the States are easily accessible.

    You voiced for Studio 1, Pipe recorded for Prince Buster, you both voiced at Channel One, you released on Greensleeves, and worked with Junjo, Jammy and so on. Your career always seems to have involved the biggest and most important names on the island.Is there anyone that you didn't get to work with that you would have liked to?

    BREAD: Yes, there were quite a number of producers we would have liked to work with but we still have time for that! We like to say, "Nothing happens before the time"! In terms of a singer that would have to be the great Bob Marley. Sadly he is not around anymore but that would have been great. We and Bob.

    Bob Marley was like a big brother for us

    How often do you go back to Jamaica these days? What are you views on the State Of Emergency being declared. Can you comment on that?

    BREAD: Oh, quite often. Sometimes three times a year. I was there last January. The last time we played there was January 2009 at Rebel Salute. I can't say much because I'm not down there to see what's going on right now. But we knew it was going to happen sooner or later because it was brewing for a while. As you know the US government wanted Dudus extradited but the Jamaican government wasn't doing it so we knew it was going to come to this at some time.

    Also, Sizzla has moved to Africa. What do you think of that?

    BREAD: That's good. I think that's good. I am longing to go to Africa myself. We spoke to a lot of promoters recently and hopefully maybe we can go by the end of the year. Because we have spoken to promoters in the past and things were looking good only to find out it wasn't going to happen again. But again, as we always say, "Nothing happens before the time". It's the one continent we haven't played on yet.

    You had success is what are called the "roots" and "dancehall" eras of reggae. Do you see any connection between yourself and the current dancehall artists?

    BREAD: Not really because they do a different dancehall from us. But from day one the music was dancehall music. Roots music was the music of the day but it was in the dancehall so it was dancehall music. The Wailers were dancehall artists back in the day. So it's just a different variation of it now with this current crop of artists. I don't think they're doing it any good really. Maybe I'm old but we like music with lyrics and good melodies and it seemed like everybody loved that. Because, up to this day, Bob Marley is the biggest selling reggae artist - and that's the type of music we sing. That's the kind of music everybody loves - good message, good melodies, good music.

    Maybe I'm old but we like music with lyrics and good melodies. That's the kind of music everybody loves - good message, good melodies, good music

    (credits United Reggae .com)
    test
  3. JASON ANTHONY

    JASON ANTHONY White Devil

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    I was going to read this and then I saw it took up two posts.

    I love you Lucy... and your forum.
    test
  4. L u c y

    L u c y (Administrator) SWERVE

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    hahah thanks........ I think.
    btw thats a much shortened version, it went on & on & on
    I only posted as there are some nice bits of reggae history in there
    test
  5. JASON ANTHONY

    JASON ANTHONY White Devil

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    You should bold them.
    test
  6. L u c y

    L u c y (Administrator) SWERVE

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    bold off tbh
    shit took me ages as is, I kept getting "you have used too many charactors, please shorten" etc
    but yeah urite
    test
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