A while back I got to go to the pre-opening of the Bob Marley exhibit at the Grammy Museum. For those of you not familiar with this incredible resource in downtown LA (LA Live) you need to familiarize yourself. It is a great place for music fan and the whole family.
Here is what I wrote back in May:
“For me, a highlight of the night was meeting the only artist that Bob Marley produced, aside from himself, Ms. Martha Veléz. This is why live, on the street and in the field events like this mean so much and are so vital for all of us. Had it not been for this night, Martha might have stayed unknown to me. Talk about a career… wow. From the Gaslight Singers to opera to Reggae to acting in some great projects. I went home and read about her and started listening to both Fiends and Angels, which I really dig… and American Heartbeat. Seriously, she is amazing and you need to do yourself a favor and listen to her stuff… ”
Martha Veléz – Fiends and Angels
Certainly an appropriate title for today of all days… the 10th anniversary of 9/11. There were most certainly fiends on that day, who sadly made almost 3000 angels. We must never forget how much we want and need peace, but we also must realize that evil is real. It is not a made up and imagined thing… there are people in the world who are truly barbaric. We must be strong, we must be courageous, we must be unafraid to stand up and fight for ourselves and our loved ones. Sometimes peace takes a battle and it is a battle that must be fought. May you have that same peace and gratitude, appreciation and love and know that we will never forget you.
So I met Martha and then I met her music. To give you an idea of the respect that Martha had, even on her debut, just look at the guest artists on this one! Eric Clapton, Christine McVie, Jim Capaldi, Jack Bruce, Mitch Mitchell and a bunch of other greats all show up on this sultry blues rocker. Her voice is so good… like a combination of Karla Bonoff (“Lose Again” is one of my very favorite songs), Linda Ronstadt and Janis Joplin.
Her Escape From Babylon is the only album Bob Marley produced for someone other than himself! In fact, her whole career amazes me… lead in Hair on Broadway… opera… rock and blues… actor… Amazing. She put out five albums between the 60s and 70s (not including The Gaslight Singers) and has a cult following that should be huge! And obviously the talent is genetic as her brother is the famed percussionist Gerardo Velez who played with Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock, Elton John and is a regular with the jazz fusion masters, Spyro Gyra… a college favorite of mine! That’s some stuff right there.
Give this one a listen. It is an absolute joy and you will get to hear the rocking, bluesy voice of an angel.