Following Bob Marley’s death from cancer in 1981, the Wailers have survived in various forms over the years, all of which include no original members and only one key player from their peak years: bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett. As a result, the post-1981 incarnation has been seen as little more than a novelty act, at best a way to commemorate Marley and celebrate his music. The Wailers did try to separate themselves from the Marley legacy with a run of albums like 1996’s Jah Message (RAS), but they were always overshadowed by artists like Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh. Add to the picture Barrett’s recent legal struggles with Island over unpaid royalties and it was hard not to see the band booked to play the Paradise January 6 as one struggling with past demons.But on the heels of two new Marley releases — Africa Unite: The Singles Collection and the two-disc DVD Bob Marley and the Wailers Live! — there’s renewed interest in the Wailers. A capacity crowd filled the Paradise, and with Barrett firmly planted to the right of the drums, a whopping eight newcomers took the stage in all their Rasta glory. Singer/guitarist Junior Marvin, the only other Wailers alum besides Barrett, did his best Marley impersonations on " I Shot the Sheriff" and "No Woman, No Cry." Indeed, this version of the Wailers had no reservations about playing up Marley nostalgia with a set full of familiar numbers from the Wailers’ glory days. And, really, that’s what the crowd was there for.
: Live Reviews
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