Aston Barrett Jr’s father and uncle recorded several classic albums and songs with Bunny Wailer. Yet, the drummer/bass player only met the legendary singer/songwriter once.
That was November 2010 at the Bayside Rocks Festival at Bayfront Park in downtown Miami, where Wailer performed alongside Toots and The Maytals, Marcia Griffiths and Steel Pulse.
Their lone meeting took place backstage.
“Mi sey, ‘Wha’ppen Uncle Bunny’ an’ him sey, ‘Family Man Jr’. Mi hear a lot ’bout yuh’,” Barrett recalled. “Wi had a great chat.”
Wailer died March 2 at age 73 at Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston. The last of the famous Wailers, he was pre-deceased by Bob Marley in 1981 and Peter Tosh in 1987.
Aston “Family Man” Barrett and his younger brother Carlton played bass and drums, respectively, on Blackheart Man, Bunny Wailer’s seminal 1975 album. They also backed The Wailers on timeless songs like Soul Rebel, Duppy Conqueror and Mr Brown, produced by Lee “Scratch” Perry.
“Love Blackheart Man…is one of dem albums where every song is great,” said Barrett Jr, a drummer who is leader of The Wailers Band. “Mi love song like Fighting Against Conviction an’ Amagideon; di bass line on Rasta Man wicked.”
Barrett senior assumed leadership of The Wailers Band after Marley’s death and helped make it one of the best touring reggae acts. He retired from touring four years ago due to health challenges, while Carlton was murdered in Kingston in 1987.
Bunny Wailer’s recording career flourished during the 1980s when he cut outstanding albums such as In I Father’s House and Rock ‘N’ Groove. He won three Grammy Awards in the 1990s.
The Wailers Band were nominated for Best Reggae Album with One World at this year’s Grammy Awards. That was won last Sunday by Got to be Tough by Toots and The Maytals.