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The Fabulous Wailers

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Album Review

As any quick perusal of old Top 40 rock & roll station playlists will attest, singles were where the shakin' action was, as rock & roll albums were scarce as hen's teeth back in those pre-Beatle days. But when the record companies decided to issue one, it was usually an artifact of high rockin' value and some major influence. Naysayers to the contrary, this debut album by the Northwest's first great rock & roll combo is just such an artifact. The Wailers dispensed crude, greasy, largely instrumental rock & roll music for those who came to shake it up and shake it down, and it's all on fine, rhythmic, open display here. This album is amazing in its own simplistic, nuthin'-special way, its crudity almost palpable. There's only one vocal aboard, Kent Morrill's "Dirty Robber," later covered and torched by the Sonics. Everything else is built on the riff-sturdy bones of their biggest hit, "Tall Cool One." With two guitars, piano, sax, and drums — no bass player anywhere on here, another crudeness indicator of the times and locale it was recorded in — all blasting away like they're working a VFW Hall dance, hoof shakers like "Wailin'," "Shanghaied," "Beat Guitar" (featured in the soundtrack of the misguided Jerry Lee Lewis bioflick Great Balls Of Fire), and "Gunnin' For Peter" stand loud and proud as teen hall pre-Beatle rock & roll at its finest. Even more amazing is that the tonal crudity of this recording is enhanced even further on the stereo pressings of this album! Northwest grunge in its original 1950s incarnation that can be appreciated by everyone who hears its basic message, unless you happen to have something against three chords and a lot of energy.


Formed: 1963

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

Following leader Bob Marley's death from cancer on May 11, 1981, the Wailers Band struggled for nearly a decade for direction, hampered from releasing their own music by a Gordian knot of legal entanglements. Anchored by world-class bassist Family Man Barrett and his brother, drummer Carlton (who was murdered by gunmen hired by his wife in April 1987), the Wailers Band performed well-received international tours almost constantly throughout the '80s. Lead guitarist Junior Murvin bravely handled most...
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The Fabulous Wailers, The Wailers
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