Project BobMarleytracks – Talk with Peter
[ INTERVIEW ] REGGAE – BobMarleytracks, Peter, David Cairol, Originals I-Threes, The Wailers, & many more…, Enjoy Music
Samedi 1 Mai 2021 à 18h52, by Mamats
Touching and moving, David Cairol’s music conveys something special. Having fallen in love with Bob Marley and his music since high school, he is currently working on the BobMarleytracks project initiated by a talented producer and musician from the Netherlands, Peter Wezenbeek.
This project with a worldwide scope and on which take part the Originals I-Threes, The Wailers, Brinsley Forde, Shemabeth Mc Gregor, David Cairol & more and of which we had discussed with David some time ago, interested us a lot. So we wanted to know more about it and we exchanged with Peter, the initiator of the BobMarleytracks.
In this interview, he tells us how he was touched by Bob Marley’s music at a very young age, strangely similar to David’s encounter with the King. Their path was really made to cross. How and why this project was born, the different meetings, his working method, finally, we can say that Peter gave himself up, and we find this exchange really fascinating, captivating. We are very proud to present you this project in France via our webzine because it is disturbing of realism; the result is more than breathtaking, David “Marley” Cairol is bluffing, it gives off Marley and these guys there do a crazy job. Little advice: Don’t hesitate to subscribe to the different pages
Peter publishes a lot of really nice little videos.
LGR : Hello Peter. Can you tell us about your love for Bob Marley and your love for his music?
Peter : Hi Matthieu, thank you for the opportunity you give to promote the BobMarleytracks project. How nice that I can answer your questions so that you can learn more about this project and its background.
My love for Bob Marley’s music started at school a long time ago. I was a 14-year-old boy listening to some music from a cassette tape with my Sony Walkman during the school break. A classmate came up to me and gave me a cassette tape and told me to listen to it. I had no idea who or which musician was on this tape, but I put the tape in the Walkman without hesitation. I hit the ‘play’ button and BAM, the music knocked me upside down! I had never heard this before, what kind of music is this … WOW!
I cranked up the volume to full blast and my ears took every beat, skank and groove as a special blend of joy and happiness. I heard completely new things this drummer did on his drum kit. WOW this was pure ear candy.
I have to tell you that when I was 7 years old I was already working as a drummer for a pop band and that I had never heard this music before. I was really hooked to this music in a second. I listened to this music on my Walkman the entire school break. When the bell rang and we had to go back to the classroom, I took the tape out of the Walkman and gave it back to my classmate. It turned out to be the album Babylon By Bus, the legendary live album by Bob Marley & the Wailers. The next day I ran to the record store and bought the LP from this album. This album is still my favorite live recording of Bob Marley & the Wailers. I have never heard so much power, groove and quality again!
Why I love Bob’s music is because so much rhythmically happens, the drums and bass are from 2 brothers, Carlton and Aston, and they do something inimitable. Carlton does crazy things to the beat with his hi-hat, kick and sidestick. Aston plays a melody on the bass within each song. A melody within a melody. Timing, groove and swing are played fantastically by these 2 musicians.
Then Wya Lindo he is a master of the Hammond organ and clavinet. A Hammond organ sounds great anyway, but what Wya does is so cool. He plays the bubbling and fills, which gives an awesome groove to drums and bass guitar. Then the rock and blues guitars of Al Anderson and Junior Marvin, reggae and rock, the best combination! Add to that the harmonic keys of Tyrone Downie such as Fender Rhodes and piano, synthesizer. Seeco Patterson on percussion who does so many cool things rhythmically. And on top of that, the most powerful performer on earth, Bob Marley with The I-Threes by his side. You can’t ignore this killer combination of musicians and talents.
LGR : You’re actually working on a project called BobMarleytracks, could you describe it to our listeners?
Peter : Yes that’s right. I am the founder, producer, engineer and drummer of the BobMarleytracks project. The project consists of re-recorded Bob Marley songs and we’re using vintage instruments, analog recording equipment and fantastic musicians and singers trying to capture the authentic sound of The Wailers. What started as a small bucket list thing has now grown into an amazing musical project. Original band members from The Wailers, I-Threes, Brinsley Forde from Aswad, Shemabeth McGregor (daughter of Judy Mowatt and Freddie McGregor), my great friend David Cairol, Aston Barrett Jr and more than 55 professional reggae musicians worldwide are participating. And the project continues to grow every day! We now have more than 25 songs ready for release. I am so very grateful to everyone who is participating in this project. Without them this would never have gone so far.
LGR : How – and for what reason – did this idea come up ? David Cairol told me it was during his interview, just for fun. Is that right ?
Peter : For this project to emerge, we have to go back to my 14th year of life. After hearing this music with my walkman at school I started to study the drums of Carlton Barrett, I didn’t understand anything about his playing but I thought it was so cool. I studied every groove, hi-hat, snare and kick per song and how it was placed in the music. And then, after many many years of listening and practicing on my own drum kit, I finally managed to understand and replay Carlton’s drumming. But don’t get me wrong, Carlton is the master of drums and I’m just a shadow of his drumming. He still continues to amaze me when I hear something new from him via a You Tube video or bootleg recording.
Because I’m the owner of a professional recording studio, the idea came to me in 2013, indeed for fun as David pointed out, to re-record 5 or 7 songs of Bob Marley. Each re-recorded song had to consist of the original studio arrangements of the LPs and how these songs were played during live concerts of Bob Marley & the Wailers. So as an example, ” Lively Up Yourself ” as we know it from the LP sounds completely different as we know it from the Babylon By Bus album. I wanted to make a combination of these 2 versions. So up tempo, mix the same guitar solos and original arrangements together and make a new recording of it. And that’s what I wanted to do with each of these 6 or 7 songs.
LGR : How many songs in this project ? And how did you choose them ?
Peter : We are now working on the 30th re-recorded song, hahaha and it doesn’t seem like we’re going to stop re-recording! I first chose some favorite songs from Marley, 6 or 7 I don’t know, but during the process more and more songs were added. I actually love them all. And the nice thing about the internet is that the database that becomes available from Bob Marley is constantly growing. Live conserts, bootlegs, demos, it can all be found on YouTube. And yes when I hear another great version of a song we have to go back into the studio for a new re-recording hahaha.
LGR : Can you tell us about the I-Threes, the Wailers, David Cairol, musicians from all over?…We’d like to know how connections between those people happened
Peter : Yes this is the best part of the whole project, friendships and connections ….
In 1991 I got the chance to play a few songs with The Wailers. With big thanks to Junior Marvin who let me take a seat behind the drum kit. How cool to make music with your musical heroes on stage! When I started this project in 2013, I sent Junior Marvin an email asking if he liked playing guitar on my re-recording of ” Lively up yourself “. To my great surprise, he did! I sent the studio track to his studio in America. He recorded his guitar tracks with his engineer and sent them to me afterwards. I added these to my re-recording and I was totally freaking out because I had an original Wailer on my project. !!
I was looking for a good bass player for this project, because together with the drums this is the backbone of all songs. And where do you get a good bass player? So many good and professional bass guitarists I know in my network but none of them really understand reggae. A bit desperate, I took my laptop and did some browsing on YouTube. And then suddenly I saw a bass player who actually played all the bass tracks of Aston Barrett perfectly. Same sound, groove, vibe …, what a hero! I could not find out where he lived but I could send him an email which I did immediately. I introduced myself and asked him if he would like to add his bass track to a song from this project. Not much later I got a message back. His name is Alain and he lives in Belgium, which is a country next to the Netherlands where I live. Alain wanted to provide a track with his bass. So I sent him a song via the internet and a few days later I received the bass track from him. Wow, this bass player is a master. Alain is an amazing musician and a friendly guy. He has stayed since that one song and I am so happy with that. His bass tracks are awesome !
And through Alain I ended up with Marcia Griffiths, because his reggae band has performed with her several times. And through Marcia I ended up with Judy Mowatt. These Queens of reggae are, together with Rita Marley, The Original I-Threes and I asked them to sing the re-recording of ” Precious World “. Yes they wanted to do that for me. So I send the track to Anchor studio in Kingston Jamaica and not much later I’m sitting with a facetime connection watching these Queens in the studio singing on my re-recording. I was amazed !! After the session we talked a bit and the studio sent the track back to me. Whaaa, I suddenly have contact with these great heroes who worked with Marley, side by side!
I was searchin for the best singer for this project. Male or female didn’t really matter to me. If only the vocals were authentic and suited to these songs, that would have been good enough for me. But where do you get such a singer? I received a lot of offers from singers from my network, but I really didn’t think their voice was good for this project. There are so many singers on YouTube who sing Marley songs, but I didn’t really like them either. This was going to be a really tough quest.
One day Judy Mowatt called me. She said she met the perfect singer for this project. His name was David Cairol from France. She told me that she had sung a duet with him and that his voice was fantastic. He sounded like one of the Marley brothers, she said. Bet when they hear David’s voice these brothers look at each other and wonder if they have another brother they don’t know, she said with a smile. She gave me David’s number and I called him. He was just about to board the plane in Kingston so we agreed to get in touch a few days later. When David called me he said that he had heard from Judy about this project but that he had seen the project website before. What struck him is that we both have the same experience at age 14, Bob Marley encounter, by walkman and cassette tape through a classmate. Very special!
The conversation was very pleasant and we agreed that David would board the plane and fly to the Netherlands for a studio session. Weeks later, I picked him up from the airport on the agreed date and drove his things to a nearby hotel. Then dinner on the beautiful beach and then the moment came, to the studio for the first recording session. I already had everything ready and when David song the first notes I thought I was going crazy. What a voice and authentic performance. Judy was absolutely right. David is, I repeat, the best singer for this project. David was in the studio a few days to record his vocals and halfway through that week we also had an appointment with Shemabeth McGregor, Judy’s daughter. Shema toured as a backing vocalist with The Wailers and they would do a concert in a town close to the studio. David and I visited her at the hotel that same afternoon and we took her to the beach for a delicious lunch. Shema loved the project and she has been the official backing vocalist on this project ever since. At her request, we came backstage after the cool concert and there we met Aston Barrett Jr, the son of Family man.
The same night David and I sat together with Shema, Robbie (our regular lead guitarist), and Ann-Marie in the car for hours, singing all the songs from the bmt project. What a lot of fun we had.
Via Shema I came into contact with guitarist Donald Kinsey. An original Wailer and today he tours with the new version of The Wailers, as do Shema and Aston Barrett Jr.
Shema told Donald about the project and showed him some songs from the project. He really loved this and wanted to play along. Shema gave me his phone number so I called Donald. How cool is that. Donald is a legend! After a nice phone conversation about the collaboration and details, Donald plays on several songs.
Through Shema I came into contact with Aston Barrett Jr, son of the legend Family man and now the leader of the band The Wailers. Aston Jr. is a great musician, playing drums like Carlton, bass like his father and a number of other instruments. He has his own studio and with his skills and sense of detail he has restored the good reggae sound with the new version of The Wailers. Finally!
I asked Aston if he would like to participate in our BMT project. Yes he did. How cool! So after a nice phone conversation we decided that he would do the bass on 2 songs and as a bonus track one of the songs with drums. As a bonus, he also mixed his version of ” Ambush in the night “. How special isn’t it?
David is good friends with Brinsley Forde, the lead singer of Aswad. During a session in England, David showed some songs from the project to Brinsley. He immediately asked where these bootlegs came from, he didn’t believe these were re-recordings of the BMT project with David as lead singer. Brinsley was very emotional and said these re-recordings were so authentic that it brought him back to his memories as a friend of Bob and The Wailers, as if he were with them again. Brinsley and David discussed the possibility of having Brinsley sing ” The Heathen “. David called me up and of course it would be a great honor to have Brinsley on this song. After a nice phone conversation with Brinsley … you guessed it. Brinsley has made a great contribution to this song. I love his vocals on this track. What an honor to have this reggae icon on our project!
Because me and David regularly post on instagram about this BMT project, we quickly got attention from musicians and dub engineers from many different countries. All fans of Bob Marley, professional musicians and engineers with a great love for reggae. And they asked if they could participate! I was so amazed about that but also very grateful. All of a sudden I had a really big group of great musicians who speeded up the re-recording process but also took it to a much higher level. How cool! Meanwhile, more than 55 participants from Jamaica, France, Portugal, Canada, Denmark, USA, UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, Russia and so on. I am so very grateful for this. Who would have ever thought that way?
Many of those international musicians got to know each other through this project and are now working together on other projects. I am so happy with that too. We are all linked by the love for Bob Marley’s songs.
One evening I was watching a Netflix series with my great love Rebecca. Suddenly my phone rings, I answer and I hear someone say hey Peter, this is Al Anderson. Can you tell me about that project you are making? I look very surprised at Rebecca huh, I have Al Anderson on the phone ?? Bob Marley’s original guitarist calling me? We have a very nice conversation for more than half an hour. Unfortunately, Al is not participating in this project due to his commitment to a new album. Still, I was so honored that Al Anderson called me. So special that in the past these guys could only be seen on VHS tapes and on LPs that I bought. Unattainable heroes who performed on stage with the great Bob Marley and in the studio. And now they are working on this project, calling me or sending me messages via Whatsapp.
LGR : We often see you having a ball in your recording studio thanks to your posts, can you tell how were recordings and mix downs ? What kind of equipment do you work with ?
Peter : Sometimes I get so happy with a detail or sound during this recording process that I indeed often share it on social media channels. Sorry for that 😊
A re-recording starts with searching for the different performances of a song. Then I make a choice and determine the tempo of the song. In the studio I work with Cubase and through that software program I put Marley’s guide track on the grid. Then I record my drums. I record multiple tracks and determine which parts to use. Then I play some guide tracks such as piano and Hammond. I make a bounce and send the track to Alain. Alain plays the correct bass track and guitar rhythm tracks and sends all tracks back to me. I make a new bounce of all this and then send this to the musicians in Brazil, amazing musicians like Takao, Renato, Rafael, Lucas, Tiago, Rafael. They add their instruments and all send me their tracks. I collect all this and put it back in the session. Then Robbie comes to my studio, a friend of mine, great guy and great guitarist. With him I actually record all lead guitar tracks and solos. In a miraculous way he knows how to imitate the sound and style of Junior and Al.
If I need extra percussion I will send the song to Aurel Percu in France, this guy is a hero on the kete drums. When I get his track back I place it in the session. Then a new bounce from the last track goes to Shema in America. She sings all backing vocals at home and sends them back. I also have 2 tracks with Judy Mowatt doing the backing, ” The Heathen ” and ” Small Axe “. Judy records this in Anchor studio Kingston Jamaica. And then finally my great friend David from France comes to my studio in the Netherlands to record the lead tracks. All this is the work session. When all tracks have been recorded, the mixing session starts. This is also a lot of fun to do. Because it covers a period of more than 7 years, the trick is to match all tracks soundwise and try to make The Wailers sound. With the SSl mixing board, analog and vintage equipment and instruments we know how to make a beautiful sound.
LGR : When will this project be released ? And on which format ? (Cd, vinyl, streaming…)
Peter : That’s a good question and I wish we could quickly find a label or distributor to help us with that. I would love to release it on vinyl, CD and also digital where we can offer a package deal. Different versions of a song is also something we think about. Dub versions, 12 “versions, etc. We are also thinking about a kind of album like Dreams of Freedom. So if readers of this interview are employed by a label or distributor, do not hesitate to contact me.
LGR : Is there anything you wanna add ?
Peter : My big thanks go to you Matthieu for wanting to do this interview with me and for paying attention to this project. We all have a huge love for good reggae music and I am honored that this bucket list touches so many people.
One good thing about music
when it hits you feel no pain !