Let’s honour ‘Familyman’

February 28, 2024

article reposted by Chelsea

via jamaicaobserver.com

Kevin Barrett, son of legendary Wailers bassist Aston “Familyman” Barrett, hopes to increase awareness of his father’s contribution to music by establishing a scholarship in his name.

He disclosed plans to enlighten Jamaicans about Familyman’s vast legacy in an interview with the Jamaica Observer last Saturday, during a thanksgiving service for the revered musician at Holy Family Episcopal Church in Miami Gardens.

The former Wailers bassist and band leader died on February 3 in Miami at age 77.

“We plan to deal with the leadership down there (Jamaica) to see what we can do to set up some kind of memorial or scholarship because we need something,” Kevin Barrett noted. “We want to make it known to the powers that be down there to put his name in a position where he can be remembered for his great works.”

Several of Familyman’s children attended the service, as well as his wife Angella, who read one of the scriptures. Others in attendance were Julian and Rohan Marley, sons of Bob Marley, with whom Barrett recorded and toured the world during the 1970s.

Julian Marley, winner of this year’s Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album, said it was important for him to be there.

“Everything I know about music, I learn from Familyman, Carly and Bob Marley, dem three man dey a mi teachers. All other Wailers fall in place,” he said.

Carlton “Carly” Barrett was drummer for The Wailers and Familyman’s younger brother. He was murdered in Kingston in 1987 while Bob Marley died from cancer in May 1981.

A band comprising Aston Barrett Jr on bass, Julian Marley on guitar and vocals, Inner Circle keyboardist Bernard “Touter” Harvey, percussinist Hector Lewis (who plays Carlton Barrett in the Bob Marley: One Love movie) Kaya, Junior Jazz, Teena Tamara, Tyrone Downie Jr (son of Wailers keyboardist Tyrone Downie) and percussionist Speedy, performed renditions of He’s A Legend, Rastaman Chant, Natty Dread, So Much Things to Say and Jamming which had the packed church singing along.

Also attending the service, which was officiated by Reverend Horace D Ward, were Lennie Chen, longtime associate of The Wailers, Oliver Mair, Jamaica’s Consul General to Miami, Eddy Edwards of the Grace Jamaica Jerk Festival, Roger Lewis and Trevor “Skatta” Bonnick of Inner Circle, Richie Daley of Third World, keyboardist Pablove Black, Mykal Rose, Clive Chin of VP Records, bassist/guitarist Owen “Dreadie” Reid, Causion and bassist Paul Fakhourie.

Officiating was Reverend Horace D Ward.

Aston “Familyman” Barrett first met Bob Marley in the late 1960s while he was a member of The Upsetters, house band for producer Lee “Scratch” Perry. Along with his brother, organist Glen Adams and guitarist Alva “Reggie” Lewis, he played on some of The Wailers’ (which at the time was Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston) big hits for Perry, including Small Axe, Duppy Conqueror and Mr Brown.

He played on all The Wailers/Marley albums for Island Records including Catch A Fire, Burnin’, Natty Dread, Exodus and Survival.

A service for Aston “Familyman” Barrett is scheduled for March 5 at the National Indoor Centre in Kingston.

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