(Artwork care of Karen Ramsay (www.karenramsay.com), profile photo care of brianlackeyphotography.com)

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Commentary - Respect and blessings

A couple of Bob Marley news items popped up recently.

The first is that Aston "Family Man" Barrett received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Bass Player magazine. This recognition acknowledges the great contributions that Family Man made to reggae music as a member of the Wailers. Six years ago, he lost his third court case over royalties owed by the Marley estate. Barrett made his claim based on a verbal contract with Marley and the role that he and his brother, Carleton Barrett, played in developing the unique sound that would define reggae music. Family Man's bass lines and Carleton Barrett's one drop beat are now instantly recognizable. Regardless of the lawsuit about the royalties, the Bass Player award draws attention to the role that Family Man has played in creating and promoting the sound of Jamaica, with the Wailers and as a producer. Respect.

The other interesting nugget is that Bob Marley beat out Michael Jackson and Madonna. Not in record sales or celebrity, but as the best artist to learn English from. A poll by Kaplan International Colleges showed that people identified Marley's music and lyrics as most helpful for picking up English. This certainly speaks to the universal nature of reggae music and Marley's economical writing style. His classic songs told stories and offered up positive messages that connect well with a global audience. It doesn't really matter how scientific this poll was, it's a wonderful gesture to a great man's legacy. I can attest, though, that music is a great way to augment learning a language. I owe a chunk of my German skills to bands like Die Ärzte, but don't tell my German tutor.

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