Small Axe/Big Feud
Looks like I’m not going to be spending this Sunday at nearby Hunter Mountain, listening to Bunny Wailer and The I-Threes, after all: The Woodstock Reggae CariFest has been canceled. Turns out that Bunny Wailer didn’t know Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry had been added to the bill (neither did I, come to that), and once he found out, he went ballistic. The pair have a feud that dates back to the late 1960s, when Perry produced many a classic cut by the legendary Wailers line-up of Bunny, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, but reputedly sold the master recordings without the artist’s permission. Even after the trio were picked up by Chris Blackwell at Island Records and propelled to international glory, there continued a lengthy period of animosity and allegations which clearly has never been healed or solved, despite the passage of time and the deaths of Marley and Tosh.
A strong statement issued by concert promoters Legendary Records, based in America’s reggae capital – Flatbush, Brooklyn – suggests that Bunny is not currently their favorite person.
BUNNY WAILER WALKS AWAY FROM WOODSTOCK REUNION,
it states that
The concert was to have featured Bob Marley’s widow, Rita Marley, along with former Wailers producer Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. In a letter sent to the concert organizers, Legendary Records, Bunny stated many grievances towards Lee, which lead to his refusal to go forward with this concert due to its line up.
D’Niscio Brooks, co-founder of Legendary Records said, “We regret that Bunny chose to break his contract. We have nothing but the greatest respect for him as an artist and the musical history which he has helped to create. We had no intention of slighting Bunny by the addition of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry. We sought to recapture the spirit of unity and love which was the legacy of Bob Marley and the Wailers and sincerely hoped that he would be a part of this goal.”
“We will reschedule this concert later in the summer with a roster that upholds the idea of standing together in peace and love,” says Legendary Records co-founder Junior Burton. “This is important message and the reason why the show must go on.”
Indeed. But with Bunny or Perry? Clearly this mountain is not big enough for the both of them.