Articles Comments

» GUEST RUNDOWNS » WHITE WOMAN WHO HAS “ONLY LISTENED TO REGGAE ONCE” IS LONG-LOST COUSIN OF REGGAE LEGEND BOB MARLEY!

WHITE WOMAN WHO HAS “ONLY LISTENED TO REGGAE ONCE” IS LONG-LOST COUSIN OF REGGAE LEGEND BOB MARLEY!

By RYAN KISIEL

When people jokingly asked Carole Marley if she was any relation to her namesake reggae star Bob, she would simply smile and say ‘yes’.

But when historians came to her Devon home to tell her that he was actually her cousin – she was left speechless.

Carole, who now has the married surname of Tovey, was unaware of her family links to the musical legend until researchers informed her this week.

The pair share a great-grandfather but are strikingly different. Bob lived in Kingston Jamaica, while Carole has a home in the quiet seaside resort of Ilfracombe. She does not have long dreadlocks, has only listened to reggae once and is white.

Carole Tovey
Bob Marley
 Top: Carole Marley

Cousins Carole Marley and her slightly more famous namesake Bob: Carole claims to have only ever listened to reggae once

It is well known that Bob Marley was the son of Norval Marley, a white Jamaican of British descent and Cedella Booker, a black woman.

But historians had failed to track down his British relatives until a team of researchers realised a slight oversight. They had failed to turn the page of the 1871 census that would have revealed the great grandfather concerned was on a separate page from his other siblings.

Frederick George MarleyFrederick George Marley, grandfather of Carole Tovey. Frederick was the brother of Bob Marley’s father, historians have revealed—–

The connection was finally made by a researcher at the Hay Festival, where Marley’s record producer and mentor, Chris Blackwell, is giving a talk on Friday.

Mrs Tovey, 66, who has lived in the Devon resort for 60 years, said: ‘When I first heard, I thought, bloody hell, they’re not going to ask me for money, are they? I told my daughter and she said “What have you been drinking?”‘.

‘I’ve never heard his music before today. I used to like people like Neil Sedaka and the Everly Brothers. No reggae. No heavy metal.

‘It has always been a joke in the family. People would always say “Are you any relation to Bob Marley?” and I would say: “Yes, he’s my cousin”. We would laugh about it. Now it turns out it is the gospel truth.’

Cedella Booker, Bob's mother

Cedella Booker, Bob’s mother

Her nephew, Neale Marley is more excited about being a relative of the famous reggae star and also revealed from his Texas home that his grandmother used to mention the connection but was ridiculed by other members of the family.

He said: ‘She used to say that she thought my dad was related to Bob Marley because they have the same nose. We would say: “Yeah right, grandma”. We just thought, you know, it was the ramblings of a crazy lady. We had no idea she was right.’

Mrs Tovey’s daughter, Wendy Wells, who runs a seaside hotel in Ilfracombe, also assumed that her grandmother was being fanciful with the truth. ‘We just told her to have another sherry,’ she said.

‘The story was that some uncles or brothers went to Jamaica, but we weren’t sure.’

Norval Marley, Bob's father

Norval Marley, Bob’s father

Albert Thomas Marley, Mrs Tovey’s great uncle, left Devon for Jamaica in the late 19th century to work in the lucrative mahogany trade.

He settled on the Caribbean island and married Ellen Bloomfield, whom he had a son, Norval with. Norval went on to become a soldier in the British Army and then aged 50, had an affair with a 17-year-old girl of African descent, Cedella Brooker, that resulted in Robert ‘Bob’ Marley being born in 1945.

The singer went onto to have a string of hits with One Love, I Shot the Sherrif and No Woman No Cry. He died in 1981, aged 36, when cancer spread to his lungs and brain.

But his music continues to thrive and his greatest hits album Legend, released in 1984, remains one of the bestselling records of all time.

It is near from impossible to buy a Bob Marley record in Ilfracombe, but that did not stop Mrs Tovey’s son Peter, visiting his mother with a novelty wooly hat with dreadlocks sewn into the inside.

 

 

Written by

Filed under: GUEST RUNDOWNS

%d bloggers like this: