June 21, 2006
Meeting Bob: Dub Version
Dub poet, Malachi Smith, sent me this via email. It was too good to add on to the Comments section of the post, “Meeting Bob” and it might have ended up being ignored, so here goes:
The first time I saw Bob was when he and the original Wailers performed on a Michael Manley campaign stop at Prison Oval in Spanish Town, St. Catherine. He was "red." Bunny and Peter hugged every time he tried to skank away, and it appeared as if he would lose his balance and fall. It was a great concert with the likes Judy Mowatt, Heptones, Gay Lads, Meditations, Derrick Harriott, Clancy Eccles, Max Romero and others.
The first time I met him in person, I was starring in Stafford Harrison's "Unsung Heroes out West" with Bob Andy, John Jones, Winston McEnuff, Earl Sixteen, and Zap Pow. During a performance of the play at the Ward Theatre, we heard that Peter Tosh had been arrested at Half-Way-Tree. At that time, I was stationed at Half-Way-Tree Police Station, so two card loads of us drove swiftly to the station. And, just as we pulled in, Bob Marley pulled into the police station and Charmaine Hemmings, who was driving the Minny Minor I rode in, parked beside his car.
Bob calmly asked where his brother was. He was told in the guard room by the sergeant and we followed behind Bob as he made his way up the station's side steps and into the public's section of the guard room. Peter was sitting down in a corner mad as a lion. Bob tried to talk to Peter, but Peter didn't respond. Bob called us all aside, said Peter was his brother, “A so 'im stay so mi nuh waa no body lick him" Bob then signed Peter's bail bond and then he left.
The second time I met him, it was a bit more personal. I was a member of a special operations team that was conducting a weekend man hunt for a gunman by the name of Hammer who had gunned down a Jamaican soldier. Hammer lived in the Hermitage area of August Town and while we were on the operation, I was driving the vehicle, one of the officers, a Special Constable by the name of Kowell, who was stationed at Half-Way-Tree, asked me to drive down to Tuff Gong so he could see his brother who was in town. Of course, we asked him who was his brother was, and he said Bob. We all laughed at him.
At which time, he told us how he grew up with Bob, Peter, Bunny, the others and told us that he was an original member of the group. We still didn't believe him, but, any way, I decided to drive down to Tuff Gong. As I turned the Toyota Land Cruiser into the drive way, I saw Bob sitting down on the lower steps of the complex's front door. I stopped right where he was. He looked up, saw Kowell, and left to his feet. Kowell jumped out the vehicle and they hugged and squeezed and sized up each other in a celebration of love. Bob was like "Wha a gwaan mi bredda." He and Kowell had a long talk and of course, we drove out of Tuff Gong knowing another side of the gong.