Renowned bass player and Marley band leader, Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett, was honoured by Bass Player Magazine with a Lifetime Achievement Award last Saturday, at a special presentation at The Key Club in Los Angeles.
According to music-news.com Barrett, 65, said of the award, “This is the first award I have ever received in America, and it was such a great honour because it means the message of reggae music from Jamaica is reaching all the people of the world.”
Barrett continued: “I’ve been on the road from 1969 until 2012, and this reminds me why it is my mission to spread the message of reggae music to the world.”
Originally from central Kingston, Barrett and his brother (and drummer) Carlton were a formidable rhythm section for the Hippie Boys which played on a number of hit songs for producers Bunny Lee and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry during the late 1960s.
Their sessions with Perry included work with the Wailers which at the time included Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. The Barretts played on seminal Wailers songs like Mr Brown and Duppy Conqueror which influenced the Wailers to recruit them for an upcoming tour of Britain with American soul singer Johnny Nash.
For over 10 years, Barrett was Bob Marley’s right-hand man, laying down some of the wickedest bass lines on songs like Concrete Jungle, Natural Mystic and Exodus. He also worked as producer, engineer and songwriter on some of the albums Marley recorded for Island Records.
Aston Barrett will be forever linked with The Wailers, its triumphs and post-Marley controversies. The band is one of the best touring reggae acts today and even had a minor hit song in 2009 with country star and long-time admirer Kenny Chesney.