Bunny Wailer

Band members                             Related acts

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- Bunny Wailer (aka Neville O'Riley Livingtson, Jah B., 

  Bunny O'Riley, Bunny Livingston) (RIP 2021) -- vocals, percussion


  supporting musicians (1976)

- Chinna -- guitar

- B. Eliss -- horns

- Dirty Harry - horns

- Earl Lindo -- keyboards

- Marquis -- horns

- T. McCook -- horns

- Horse Mouth -- drums

- M. Richards -- drums

- Robbie Shakespeare -- bass

- The Solomonic Enchanters -- backing vocals

- K. Sterling -- keyboards

- Peter Tosh -- guitar

- Touter -- keyboards




- The Wailers





Genre: reggae

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:   Protest

Company: Island

Catalog: ILPS 9512

Country/State: Nine MIle, Jamaica

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: --

Price: $30.00


As one of the three original members of The Wailers, Bunny Wailer recorded his last album with the group in 1973.  Following the release of "Burning" he devoted his attention to a full time solo career, releasing material on his own Solomic label. Released in 1976, the self-produced "Protest" tends to get overlooked in favor of Wailer's debut "Blackheart Man."  Mind you, I love the debut, but I find his sophomore collection equally compelling.  While it only features eight tracks, virtually every one of these served to showcase Wailer's confident production, his activist stances, and above all - his sweet voice.  Normally I find activist agendas on a record  to be strident and irritating.  Perhaps a reflection of his Rasafari principles, tracks like 'Scheme of Things', 'Moses Children', and a remake of The Wailers' 'Get Up, Stand Up' were all first-rate performances.  That's not to say I buy-in to all of Wailer's commentary. 'Wanted Children' was ironic in view of Wailers' thirteen children and the closer 'Johnny To Bad' was a little one dimensional and a story you've heard before - bad boy trying to get even with society.  


Is it the best Wailers' solo album?  Nah, but it is a great place to start to see that The Wailers were far more than just the late Bob Marley.


"Protest" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Moses Children   (Bunny Wailer) - 5:23    rating: **** stars

Every time I hear the boisterous 'Moses Children' I'm left to wonder why Bunny wasn't featured as The Wailers' lead singer more often.  Not trying to throw shade at the late Bob Marley, but to my ears Bunny Wailer actually had the stronger, more melodic voice and he seldom sounded as good as on this one.  Yeah, the lyric may have dealt with slavery under the ancient Egyptians, but try sitting still through this one ...

2.) Get Up Stand Up   (Bob Marley - Peter Tosh) - 6:13    rating: **** stars

Admittedly, the version recorded by Bob Marley and the Wailers (off of 1973's "Burning"), remains the one most folks are familiar with.  That's a shame since Bunny's version is just as good and perhaps even better given he slowed down the pace and gave the tune a slightly more strident edge.  The arrangement didn't stray far from the original, but his version has always reminded me of something Norman Whitfield my have touched.  Peter Tosh (who recorded his own version of the song), added guitar.

3.) Scheme Of Things   (Bunny Wailer) - 4:14    rating: **** stars

Sporting one of his sweetest melodies, 'Scheme of Things' served as a nice reflection on Livingston's Rastafari principles - c'mon what was your good deed for the day?   Always loved the harmonica effects.

4.) Quit Trying   (Bunny Wailer) - 4:16    rating: **** stars

Opening up with a nifty Curtis Mayfield-flavored feel, 'Quit Trying' balanced Wailer's words of caution to the older generation with one of those refrains that was almost criminal in terms of being ear candy.  Darn, now I can't shake the song out of my memory replay list.


(side 2)
Follow Fashion Monkey   (Bunny Wailer) - 4:11   rating: **** stars

Yes, it was a reggae tune, but also the album's least reggae-ish performance.  Instead 'Follow Fashion Monkey' reflected Wailer's soul roots - very Major Lance feel on this one (which in turn reflected Curtis Mayfield).  The brief 'Yankee Doodle Dandy' nod always makes me smile.  As for the lyrics; speculation on my part but Wailer seemed to be criticizing black Americans for embracing western commercial culture.  Wailer released the song as a Jamaican single.  Island Recorded followed suit, though with a different mix and a different flip side:

- 1976's 'Follow Fashion Monkey' b/w 'Ape' (Solomonic catalog number RW 007)

- 1976's 'Follow Fashion Monkey' b/w 'Follow Fashion Monkey' (instrumental) (Island catalog number IS 062A)

2.) Wanted Children   (Bunny Wailer) - 5:11   rating: **** stars

Always loved the swirling organ opening on 'Wanted Children.'  There seems to be a certain irony that Wailer recorded this one given he reportedly father at least thirteen kids - twelve girls and one boy.  In the wake of Wailer's 2021 death his estate quickly became the subject to a flurry of lawsuits with the children being asked to take a DNA test in order to establish their paternal rights.  Nothing wrong with urging people to be responsible for their children ...  right?

3.) Who Feels It   (Bunny Wailer) - 5:41  rating: *** stars

Sporting a decidedly old school soul feel, 'Who Feel It' was perhaps the album's prettiest ballad. Yeah for the underdog.  Turns out it' was actually a tune The Wailers had written and released as a single in 1966 (under the title 'Who Feels It, Knows it').    

4.) Johnny Too Bad   (Bunny Wailer - Trevor Wilson) - 5:51   rating: **** stars

The 'Johnny Too Bad' plotline was familiar - young man born in poverty turns bad to survive and then gets crushed by the police.  Love the bouncy refrain - 'It was just robbing and stabbing and Looting and a shooting and it's too bad."  Every time I hear the bouncy track it reminds me of Peter Tosh's 'Johnny Be Goode.'