August 13, 2009
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 3/4||Backing : 3/4||Production : 3||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 3|
Bunny Wailer, also known as Bunny Livingston, was an original member of The Wailers along with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. Bunny Wailer, a singer songwriter and percussionist, was born Neville O'Riley Livingston in 1947 in Jamaica. Bunny Wailer continued recording solo and as a backup singer during the period of time that Marley was in Delaware.
Bunny Wailer toured with the Wailers to England and the United States, but soon became reluctant to leave Jamaica. He and Tosh became more marginalized in the group as the Wailers became an international success, and attention was increasingly focused on Marley. Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh subsequently left the Wailers to pursue solo careers. They were replaced by the I Threes, a move to broaden the base of success for the Wailers in the non-Jamaican market.
After leaving the Wailers, Bunny became more focused on his spiritual faith. As were the other Wailers, Bunny is an avowed Rastafarian. He self-produced a number of his recordings after striking out on his own. He has also written much of his own material as well as re-recording a number of cuts from the Wailers catalogue. Bunny Wailer has recorded primarily in the roots style, in keeping with his often political and spiritual messages. He has also had success recording in the typically apolitical, more pop dancehall style. He has outlived his contemporaries in a culture were death by violence is commonplace. Bunny Wailer has won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 1990, 1994 and 1996.
His latest efforts in a pop, crossover style didn't receive a lot of attention from the reggae purists. His album 'Cross Culture' (2006) is an example of embracing the popular music of America and England, and is a total waist of time and energy. It's horrible! Anyway, the current album 'Combination Vol. 1' sees the man partially returning to his roots and his original style, although he still has too many weak moments on this album.
It's a kind of 'concept' album as he does most of the tunes in combination with contemporary female reggae/dancehall artists. The album starts with Girls, a needless and weak dancehall tune across the Punaany riddim, referring to the song 'Trailer Load Of Girls' by the man Shabba Ranks. After that he partially returns to his roots with a bunch of nice cover versions of reggae classics. His remake of his own classic Dancing Shoes is nice, but he should have left out the annoying synthesizer riff. Come Party is joyful, energetic and brings back good memories! Macka Diamond does a good job here!
Rub-A-Dub with Angie Angel is a surprising remake of 'Stir It Up' while Rub-A-Dub With Me alongside Queen Patra is best to be ignored. Love I Can Feel grabs the classic riddim and the result is above average. Empress with Queen Ifrika and Ten To One with Althea Hewitt are good efforts. Ruffi-Ann is an up and coming artist. She and Bunny deliver a flaw remake of the classic Tosh tune 'The Toughest'. It becomes better as he does a new version of Collie Man -- High Grade Man --, here in combination with the unknown Empress E.Q.. Unfortunately the last three tunes are mediocre efforts.
Like most reggae fans we still like to spin classic Bunny Wailer albums like 'Blackheart Man', 'Rock 'n' Groove', 'Tribute', 'Struggle' and 'In I Father's House'. This current album has its fine moments, but as a whole it's a disappointing set.