Back when I first heard the Wailers, I couldn't really be bothered by bands or records that weren't smokin' hot. That's still the case, but what has changed is what I consider smokin' hot. Music no longer has to have guitar heroics or rock concert posturing. Somewhere around punk rock, I began to loathe rock stars and the associated adulation thrown in their direction. It became more about the band dynamic, between band members and between band and audience. That's a long way to describe why I was midly impressed with the Wailers then, and apeshit about them now.
The Wailers were nothing if not a sturdy band, equal parts rock 'n' roll and rhythm and blues. They got little national attention but were wildly popular in the Northwest. In a regional scene with it's own sound, there was no shortage of sturdy bands, but the Wailers, along with the Sonics led the pack.
I've posted Wailers stuff a few times, but I just ran into a couple songs I hadn't, plus a high resolution version of the photo above. A couple things I need to point you towards. One is "I Idolize You" with guest vocalist Gail Harris. She's fifteen years old on that, and she wails. That's not an intended pun. I just can't think of a better word to describe what she does to her teenage larynx. The other thing you need to check out is the first hand account of a Wailers vs Sonics Battle of the Bands show that occurred back in the day by someone who was in his teens at the time but still remembered the feeling and the details in 2011 when the piece was written. It's by Frank Gutch, a true believer who also happens to be the person whose enthusiastic proselytizing from behind the counter of his record store made me reconsider the Wailers decades ago. Just one thing of many I'm indebted to him for.
~ NOTE: ALL MEDIA IS HOSTED BY THE BLOGS & SITES NAMED BELOW ~Listen:
The Wailers – Mau Mau mp3 at Diddy Wah
The Wailers – Beat Guitar mp3 at Diddy Wah
The Wailers with Gail Harris - I Idolize You (streaming) at YouTube
The Wailers - San-Ho-Zay (streaming) at YouTube
The Wailers - Out of Our Tree mp3 at Beware of the Blog
The Wailers - Mashi mp3 at Beware of the Blog
The Sonics vs the Wailers - Battle of the Bands! by Frank Gutch Jr. at Indie Musicology
Rock and Reprise - Frank Gutch's blog
High resolution copy of the image above at Ace Records