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» BREAKING NEWS, Featured » MUSICIAN/AUTHOR TOM SEMIOLI, MAKES THE CASE FOR ASTON BARRETT AND ROBBIE SHAKESPEARE TO BE INDUCTED IN THE “ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME!”

MUSICIAN/AUTHOR TOM SEMIOLI, MAKES THE CASE FOR ASTON BARRETT AND ROBBIE SHAKESPEARE TO BE INDUCTED IN THE “ROCK & ROLL HALL OF FAME!”

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
Observer senior writer—

 Tom Semioli —

IF American Tom Semioli has his way, two of reggae’s greatest bass players would be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the Sidemen category.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, Semioli said Aston “Familyman” Barrett and Robbie Shakespeare deserve to join legendary Motown session player James Jamerson in the ‘Hall’. He wrote about this in ‘ Eleven Bass Players Who Belong In The Rock And Roll Hall of Fame‘, a column for the Huffington Post.

“The omission of Aston Barrett and Robbie Shakespeare in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is inexcusable! Imagine a Baseball Hall of Fame without Hank Aaron or Babe Ruth. Imagine a Soccer Hall of Fame without Pele!” he exclaimed.

Aston "Family Man" Barrett

Aston “Family Man” Barrett

Barrett, a stalwart in The Wailers band, started his career in the late 1960’s as a member of The Hippy Boys band, which included his younger brother Carlton on drums. He played on most of Bob Marley’s heralded songs, including Burnin’, Catch A Fire, Natty Dread, and Rastaman Vibration.

Shakespeare was considered Barrett’s protégé early in his career. He played bass on Marley’s Concrete Jungle, and was a prolific session player during the 1970’s for producer Bunny Lee, Peter Tosh and Burning Spear.

Alongside drummer Sly Dunbar, he is best known for his work in Sly and Robbie. The duo put reggae drum-and-bass on the international map in the 1980’s, working with roots-reggae group Black Uhuru and numerous pop artists.

Robbie Shakespeare

Robbie Shakespeare

Semioli, who has toured with acts like singer Jon Secada, believes the bass player has got a bad rap by the ‘Hall of Fame’ judges. He pointed to Jim Rodford, long-serving member of The Kinks band, and John York and Skip Batten, who recorded with The Byrds, as other bassists who have been overlooked.

 Both groups are in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Those musicians were not honored despite playing on their biggest hit songs.

It is the same with Barrett and Shakespeare, who Semioli stressed helped lay the groundwork for acceptance of reggae internationally.

“Listening to Johnny Nash’s I Can See Clearly Now and Bob Marley, it was like hearing music from another planet. Songs such as Mother and Child Reunion by Paul Simon, Black and White by Three Dog Night were big influences and prompted us to learn more about reggae,” he said.

Marley and Jimmy Cliff are the only reggae acts in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Marley was inducted in 1994; Cliff in 2010.

 

 

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