Sun | May 26, 2019

Carlene Davis Defends 'Songs of Bob Marley' Cover Album

Published:Sunday | September 25, 2016 | 12:00 AMKimberley Small

"Over the years, Tommy would keep having conversations with me about Bob and - even conversations as to how Bob reacted towards a particular thing. And out of that, we did a single called Hey Brother Bob," said Carlene Davis, who recently visited The Gleaner's North Street offices to talk about her latest promotional efforts.

She spoke the words as she recalled them.

'Hey Brother Bob, I wanna talk to you. Hey Brother Bob, I know the things you say are true. They crucified Marcus Garvey. It's been over 100 years, shot Martin Luther King. They had no fear. They never taught Marcus Garvey in our schools; Christopher Columbus was the golden rule. But there's a fire burning in my soul-and we're gonna dance, dance, dance 'til the morning light," she spoke the lyrics of her long written song.

Though she has been a powerful figure in the Jamaican gospel music fraternity for the better part of the last decade, Davis holds no reservations in singing the songs of her Rastafarian family friend.

"I've always did Redemption Song when I did a live performance," she told The Sunday Gleaner. The accomplished gospel vocalist also said that while she is a warrior for Christ, her performance and the values reflected in her work is not limited to religious faith, but also serve as social commentary and action.


"If you look back on my track record with songs for the fight against apartheid like Winnie Mandela, Rise Up, and Santa Claus You Ever Come to the Ghetto, I was considered as the woman who sang the songs of freedom," she said with a laugh. "I was one of those artistes."

"We did Hey Brother Bob, and we went and recorded Redemption Song", she told The Sunday Gleaner, while spending some time in England. According to Davis, these recordings took place in 1992, around the same time that Nelson Mandela was freed from prison.

"We came back to Jamaica and Tommy said, 'I really think you need to go in the studio and let's do a collection of the songs', and that's how it happened."

"We first recorded and released it in 1993 on the Eko Talent Corporation Distribution Company," Davis told The Sunday Gleaner.

Tommy Cowan was a very close friend of the legendary Bob Marley. Cowan worked with Marley on and off the stage, as the marketing manager of Tuff Gong International at 56 Hope Road, while the singer was still alive. Cowan himself has gained his own notoriety in the music industry as one of the key producers of the famous Zimbabwe Independence Concert in 1980, where he was the only foreign performer and the one who incited a riot. Cowan was also the producer of the historical One Love Peace Concert in 1978.

Davis told The Sunday Gleaner, that it was with the blessing of the 'younger generation' of Marleys that she has decided to reissue the 1993 cover album.

"Just a couple years ago, there were conversations between us and the Marley family because they do their anniversary celebration of Bob and Tommy would be asked to come and be part of it. We reminded them that we have this album, and they got excited!"


"To be resuscitated at this point in time of my career, it's an inspiration for me to even be singing the songs of our great song writer, icon - someone who has inspired the world, someone who continues to inspire the world. For me, it's an honour."

The Tuff Gong Masters Vault series has seen the release of the collection of Tyrone Williams entitled Totally Tyrone, Rub-A-Dub Xmas, featuring various artistes and now sees the reissue of Carlene Davis' cover album titled, Songs of Bob Marley.

"Nothing happens before the right time - but it is quite timely. The album came out on July 29th - we're now in the nick of promotion."

Regarding promotion of the re-release, Davis told The Sunday Gleaner, that they were doing what they could as they go along. The songstress took a rest and restorative trip to the United States, where she decided to capitalise on the opportunity to promote this latest release and engaged in interviews with various radio stations across the US

"We went into Florida, we thought it was a great time now to just kick off the promotion. We've been doing stuff online, but I think it's time for Jamaica and the rest of the world."

Songs of Bob Marley, includes in the remastered recordings of Satisfy My Soul, Three Little Birds, Time Will Tell, Love and Affection, So Much Trouble, Waiting In Vain, Soul Rebel, Redemption Song and others.