Keith Cole covers reggae legend Bob Marley in latest release

by Howard Campbell

Keith Cole covers reggae legend Bob Marley in latest release

Keith Cole

NEW YORK – When Keith Cole first heard Bob Marley’s Ride Natty Ride in 1979, it reminded him of the humble Rastafarians he saw as a youth in Jamaica. His love for the song has endured and he recently released a self-produced cover.

“The lyrics an’ the vibe of that song, there’s jus’ something about it,” said Cole. “’Dready has a job to do an’ he’s got to fulfill that mission’. “Is like Bob saying we must carry on that mission.”

Cole has lived in New York since 1970, shortly after he launched his recording career with a clutch of songs for producer Rupie Edwards.

He remembers performing at some of New York’s Jamaican clubs during the 1970s, like the Reggae Lounge at West Broadway and My Father’s Place in Long Island. Marley was at his career peak then, and Ride Natty Ride was one of his songs that struck a chord with the Big Apple’s growing West Indian community.

It is not the first time Cole has covered the song, taken from Marley’s militant Survival album. He did so in the 1980s with Charles Earland, a respected American jazz organist. That jazzy version was never released, and last year Cole revisited the song which he did for his Love Bird Records.

“We basically kept the same arrangement but there are some changes if you know the song well,” Cole explained.

Keith Cole never met Marley, who died from cancer at age 36 in May, 1981. However, late that decade he recorded two songs, Everybody Needs Love and Moving Violation, with members of the reggae king’s Wailers band at his Tuff Gong studio in Kingston.

Recently, Cole re-released Everybody Needs Love, which was originally done by Slim Smith in the early 1970s.

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