Wailing Souls

Wailing Souls


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Wailing Souls are standard bearers and among the few active surviving elder statesmen from the birth and the golden era of reggae music, still led by charter members, Winston “Pipe” Matthews and Lloyd “Bread” McDonald. With a career spanning more than five decades, from rock steady through reggae to dancehall and beyond, their canon is part of the soundtrack of Jamaica itself. Songs including “Fire House Rock,” “Jah Jah Give Us Life,” “Mr. Fire Coal Man,” and “Shark Attack” mark creative high points in reggae history. Pipe and Bread’s creative history dates to Jamaica’s rock steady days in a group called The Renegades with George Haye. Other group members through the years included Norman “Fats D” Davis and Oswald “Sabu” Downer. With this lineup, the group also made a series of key recordings for Coxson Dodd’s iconic Studio One label, which included “Mr. Fire Coal Man,” “Back Out,” and “Things & Time.” The group’s close association with Bob Marley & The Wailers during this era included singing harmony on Marley’s “Trench Town Rock” and seeing two tracks released on Marley’s Tuff Gong label in 1972. While the Souls have worked with many record labels over the years, including Island, Columbia, and BMG, many associate their greatest recordings with Greensleeves Records from 1981-84. During this period, the group was known for its four-part harmonies that included George “Buddy” Haye and Garth Dennis, formerly (and subsequently) of Black Uhuru.