Aston “Family Man” Barrett

Video: Sorrel Moseley-Williams sat down for a brief interview with the architect of reggae, Aston “Family Man” Barrett, bassist and one of the founding members of Jamaican reggae band Bob Marley and The Wailers. They talk amongst other things about the impostor band that is going around pretending to be The Wailers.

Francis Aston “Family Man” (“Fam”) Barrett (born November 22, 1946 in Kingston, Jamaica) is a reggae-bass player of the early reggae and roots reggae best known for his role as bassist and musical director of The Wailers during their period of greatest success. His nickname family man, comes from the notion that he has fathered over forty children.

Born into a family where music had a strong presence (his father and grandfather were musicians), Aston “Family Man” Barrett built his first bass, a single string, while still a child. His first band was called the “Hippy Boys,” and Max Romeo had the voice, Alva “Reggie” Lewis on the guitar, Glen “Capo” Adams on keyboards and his brother Carlton “Carlie” Barrett, who work in The Wailers to the battery. The group was renamed as the Reggae Boys, and in 1968 would record his first songs with The Wailers. In 1969 there would be the ultimate merger of The Hippies / The Reggae Boys / The Wailers, adopting the latter name.

Barrett was the musical head of Bob Marley’s backing band The Wailers, in which he and his brother from 1970 up to Marley’s death in 1981, played together. In addition to its role as a bass player he met there from time to time the function of the music producer, arranger, background vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist and co-songwriter.
Barrett typically uses a Fender Jazz bass. The identification with this brand is so strong that the plate covers occasionally plays his instrument with a “Fender Bass” instead of “Bass” is referred to by. Family Man stop prefers the finger relative to the stop to pick. His bass lines are often rhythmically complicated but always catchy, a good example is the bass figure of I Shot The Sheriff. It is striking that Barrett hardly varies or improvised. Through its highly recognizable form his bass parts the ideal counterpoint to Marley’s singing-improvising. Barrett has influenced countless other bass players, including perhaps his most significant addition to the reggae bassist Robbie Shakespeare, who was his student at times. Barrett can play reggae bass ever be regarded as paradigmatic.
Not be underestimated as Barrett’s influence on the music arranger and producer of the coming years. On each of the future albums will Astons name directly under the Marleys, which Family Man, the after most important band member presents is Marley as (this also applies to Catch a Fire and Burnin ‘, in which the original Wailers Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer nor the group ) belong. To Barrett’s duties included the recruitment and incorporation of additional musicians (eg wind) and the line of tape samples and monitor the stage and studio work. He is co-author of the song Rebel Music (3 O’Clock Roadblock) , and Want More. Who the Cap Fit (aka Man to Man), he writes with his brother. He produced and played on solo records of artists in Marley’s environment, including Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths. Marley himself familiar Aston Barrett, the production of the Melody Makers, which is a group that consists of some of Marley’s children. The last single Wailers made before Marley’s death is called I know.

After the death of Bob Marley in 1981, The Wailers continued touring and making recordings.

In 2006 Barrett lost a legal battle with Island Records that had been imposed to apply for royalties on behalf of himself and his brother. Aston Barrett now lives in Connecticut and continues to work with The Wailers.

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