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Wailing Souls at Camden's Jazz Cafe

Wailing Souls at Camden's Jazz Cafe

Wailing Souls at Camden's Jazz Cafe

By on - Photos by Serena Saieva - Comment

The Wailing Souls have an enormous and quality catalogue to share.

There was a distinct sense of closure when harmony duo the Wailing Souls delivered their brim-full hour and 45 minute set at Camden’s Jazz Cafe on Wednesday August 20th.

The preceding Saturday at One Love Festival near Milton Keynes, Winston PipeMatthews and Lloyd BreadMacDonald arrived late and had the plug pulled after five songs - just as they were getting warmed up. This time they powered through their planned 19 track repertoire before an adoring crowd (many of whom had been following them since their younger days).

wailing souls

Veteran reggae groups that started in the 60s tend to have their significant work behind them by the end of the 70s. These two, who learned harmonies - and the then novel idea in Jamaica of royalties - from the great Joe Higgs in Trenchtown, have been cranking out hits long after.

Their one hundred and five minute appearance spanned their early sides with Coxsone Dodd at Studio 1 (Mr Fire Coal Man, Back Out With It), the mid-70s at Channel One (Jah Jah Give us Life to Live) the 80s with Junjo Lawes (Ishen Tree) and 90s Grammy-nominated glitter funk eclecticism (Shark Attack). The key is adaptability and quality control.

wailing soulsBacked by a four piece local band - sadly without horns - they were bolstered by a female backing singer as per recent years. Pipe's voice, which is often compared to Higgs protégé Bob Marley and Albert Griffiths of Gladiators, had a little trouble with the high notes for two of their finest: Jah Jah Give Us Life and Fire Coal Man (based on Bruce Channel’s Hey Baby). That said, he was comfortable with the range of 80s and 90s material which formed the bulk of the show. Bread mixed in some dancehall deejaying on She Pleases Me - illustrating their ever forward ethos. Only self-released roots judgment Bredda Gravalicious felt absent when they ascended the stairs to the galloping army truck drums of their Channel One classic War.
 
Case closed. The Wailing Souls have an enormous and quality catalogue to share.
 
The pre-show selection came from London’s Mistah Brown of Tighten Up Crew. He steered the mood consummately through mid-70s rockers to his namesake Dennis’ mighty steppers cut of the WailersSlave Driver before the musicians took the stage.

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