Entry count: 3082
The Wailers - The Fabulous Wailers At The Castle

The Wailers

The Fabulous Wailers At The Castle

Released: January 17th, 1962

8.0
Album Review The Fabulous Wailers

The events we write about at Gaslight Records happened in some form or another 50 years ago to the day. Roll along with us and imagine you are back in 1970.

Support Gaslight Records

The Wailers, often referred to as The Fabulous Wailers, were an American rock band from Tacoma, Washington. After a brief stint in New York in 1960 The Wailers returned to Tacoma and recorded a live set at the infamous 'Castle' which resulted in the live album, 'The Fabulous Wailers at the castle'. A stunning live album that successfully shows why this band is widely regarded as one of the forefathers of the 1960s Garage Rock movement – a scene that would arguably evolve into punk rock.

The record starts off with 'The Wailers House Party' and instantly The Wailers demonstrate the reason they went on to become so influential – feel. When discussing music, the 'feel' is often a difficult concept to broach on paper dealing as it does with micro units of rhythmic timing and musical chemistry between band members that can border on telepathy. But the notion of feel must be used in order to explain why this grinding instrumental by The Wailers can fill the listener with an electrical current that makes the limbs want to fly in every direction at once, while the same song played by another band can provoke literally NO response whatsoever.

Although its not hard to imagine instrumentals such as the aforementioned opener, and hit single 'Tall Cool One' whipping the crowd at The Castle that night into a frenzy, after a while they do tend to become somewhat repetitive and tiresome on record. Thankfully however, the set is punctuated with incredible vocal performances by a rotating lead roster of Ken Morrill, Rockin' Robin Roberts and Little Gail Harris. After a selection of lively numbers by both Roberts and Morill, the record reaches an ecstatic peak on 'I Idolize You' with girl group shouter Gail Harris delivering a throat shredding performance over a storming organ based r&b groove. The rawness of her shrieks truly sends the shivers down the spine and helps the listener to clearly picture the audience that night standing in complete and utter awe at the sheer untamed primitive energy on display here. Also worth mentioning with this particular tune is the way the recording constraints of the time have actually enhanced the emotional intensity. For example, every time Harris lets loose a mighty wail, the levels frequently soar right into the red, producing a wonderful tape distortion. The likes of which many more recent lo-fi acts have often tried to emulate with modern software.

Musician and theorist Brian Eno has often commented on the nature of music before and after the advent of the studio. He notes that the studio has helped give birth to an entirely new form of art that should be called something other than music. 'The Fabulous Wailers Live at the Castle' captures something very special from a time before the recording studio and its' possibilities had made an impact on music as a whole. It's live rawness and feel provide somewhat of a template for the garage scene that followed and evolved into punk, and as such its' an album that is guaranteed to wake you up.

More recent news

Watch The Jackson 5 perform single from their debut album on Ed Sullivan

News

December 23rd, 1969: Watch The Jackson 5 perform single from their debut album on Ed Sullivan

Diana Ross Presents The Jackson 5 is the latest release from Motown

 
The Clancy Brothers have released a new album of Christmas songs: Listen

News

December 20th, 1969: The Clancy Brothers have released a new album of Christmas songs: Listen

Irish folk group, The Clancy Brothers have recorded 11 songs to bring a little joy to your Christmas

 
See photos from The Doors album cover shoot in Los Angeles today

News

December 18th, 1969: See photos from The Doors album cover shoot in Los Angeles today

The new Doors album is due for release early next year.

 
Four people died over the weekend at The Altamont Speedway Free Festival

Article

December 10th, 1969: Four people died over the weekend at The Altamont Speedway Free Festival

Here's the story of Altamont in quotes from many of the people involved.

 
The Rolling Stones have released a new studio album ahead of their free concert tomorrow at Altamont

News

December 5th, 1969: The Rolling Stones have released a new studio album ahead of their free concert tomorrow at Altamont

As The Stones finish their run of U.S. concert dates they have released their eighth album, Let It Bleed.

 
This summer Bob Dylan sat down for an interview with Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine

Interviews

December 4th, 1969: This summer Bob Dylan sat down for an interview with Jann Wenner of Rolling Stone magazine

Read the transcript below of Dylan and Wenner's interview from June this year

 
Emmylou Harris covers Bob Dylan on debut album

News

December 3rd, 1969: Emmylou Harris covers Bob Dylan on debut album

Listen to Harris's cover of Dylan's "I'll Be Your Baby Tonight" from her album Gliding Bird

 
Peter Stone Brown covers Bob Dylan's 'She Belongs To Me'

Live At The Gaslight

Peter Stone Brown covers Bob Dylan's "She Belongs To Me"

Recorded in Atlantic City at Dylan Fest in 2015

 
Watch Roy Orbison perform 'Oh, Pretty Woman' with Johnny Cash last week

News

October 4th, 1969: Watch Roy Orbison perform "Oh, Pretty Woman" with Johnny Cash last week

Orbison appeared on The Johnny Cash Show in Nashville

 
Mixtape October 1969

Mixtapes

October 1st, 1969: Mixtape October 1969

It's the end of Summer 1969, here's what I'm listening to.

 
Tyrannosaurus Rex released a new single 'Pewter Suitor' this week - Listen

News

October 1st, 1969: Tyrannosaurus Rex released a new single "Pewter Suitor" this week - Listen

The new single was left off the band's album Unicorn, from earlier this year.

 
'I was just about all through as a man' Johnny Cash talks to Richard Green of NME

Interviews

October 1st, 1969: "I was just about all through as a man" Johnny Cash talks to Richard Green of NME

Cash gave a brief interview recently while visiting London

 
Loading more