Henry Helsinki Hudson’s Insider’s Guide to the Wailing Souls (7.3.17)
Hello H(elsinki) H(udson) F(riend)s:
Wailing Souls, one of the original Kingston, Jamaica, groups to popularize a then-new music called “reggae” in the mid-1960s, bring their trademark vocal harmonies and dancehall rhythms to Club Helsinki Hudson for a special holiday-weekend dance party on Monday, July 3, at 8pm.
Winston “Pipe” Matthews and Lloyd “Bread” McDonald met in a vocal workshop in Kingston in 1964. Classmates included aspiring singers who would go on to form a group called the Wailers, which became Bob Marley’s group. Matthews and McDonald formed the Wailing Souls, and they’ve never stopped singing since: These reggae and rocksteady legends have been thrice-nominated for Grammy Awards and are the living connection back to the Trenchtown origins of reggae music.
By the 1970s, Wailing Souls attracted interest from preeminent reggae producer Coxson Dodd and began a fruitful recording career. Nominated for Grammy Awards three times, the group scored hits with classic roots reggae tunes “War”, “Bredda Gravalicious“, “Firehouse Rock“, and the 1992 album and title track, “All Over The World“. Additionally, the group scored number-one hits with “Things and Time”, “Jah Jah“, “Old Broom“, and “Shark Attack“.
The Wailing Souls’ recording career is nothing short of historic. Vocally trained by Bob Marley and the Wailers’ teacher, Joe Higgs (and you can really hear it in their sound), they worked with legendary reggae producers including Coxson Dodd of Studio One, Henry “Junjo” Lawes, Channel One Studios, Delroy Wright, Lloyd “King” Jammy’s, as well as recording several early tunes at Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong Studio.
The Wailing Souls attracted global attention when their music was featured in the 1993 Disney film “Cool Runnings“. The soundtrack album was an international hit, selling nearly half a million copies worldwide. The Souls had three songs on this soundtrack including the hit “Picky Picky Head“.
The Wailing Souls are doing their part to keep the reggae flame burnin’. The group’s brand-new album, “Island Girl“, sounds as fresh and vital as if it were recorded and released in 1967 rather than 2017.