Earlier this year, Jamaica’s government announced plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of reggae’s birth. At the same time, singer Teejax Malek completed a tribute EP to some of the music’s most famous artists.
The yet-titled mini set is due for release this year. On it, Teejax Malek covers “Redemption Song” by Bob Marley, “Get Up, Stand Up” by Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer’s “Cool Runnings.”
Marley, Tosh, and Wailer are the most revered members of The Wailers, which started as a harmony group during the early 1960s in Kingston, Jamaica’s capital.
“All three songs are rearranged differently, with respect and admiration in mind for the originals. My versions serve a high goal by standing, keeping it on the same platform that amplified the quality, magic, and legacy these great heroes created,” said Teejax Malek.
Marley recorded the acoustic “Redemption Song” for his 1978 Kaya album. He co-wrote “Get Up, Stand Up” with Tosh; it appeared on The Wailers’ Burnin’ album in 1973, as well as Tosh’s Equal Rights set four years later. “Cool Runnings” is from Rootsman Skanking, Wailers’ 1987 album.
Saying he added “a new and updated infectious beat” to the songs, Teejax Malek believes the legendary artists would be pleased with his versions.
“I have taken nothing away from any of these songs, but only added justice and more appeal where well-deserved. I know within I self Bob, Peter, and Bunny would be very pleased,” he said.
Marley died in Miami, Florida during May 1981 from cancer at age 36. He would have turned 74 on February 6th. Tosh was murdered at his Kingston home in September 1987 at age 42. Wailer, who is 71, is recuperating from a stroke he suffered in October.
Teejax Malek was born in Manchester, a rural parish in central Jamaica. He started his music career shortly after migrating to Chicago in the mid-1970s and has released four albums to date.