Christie's to auction Marley 'jam' tape: Jamaica Observer

Christie's to auction Marley 'jam' tape

HOWARD CAMPBELL, Observer writer
Wednesday, November 20, 2002

Bob Marley - An audiotape of a 1960s jam session with reggae legend Bob Marley will be auctioned by the world-famous Christie's Auction House in New York City on December 16, an executive at the organisation said Monday.

The tape was put up for sale two months ago by African-American musician, Jimmy Norman, at whose home the impromptu jam took place in early 1968. Its eight songs are 24 minutes in length and includes the well-known Marley tracks One Love, True Love and I'm Hurting Inside.

Margaret Barrett, head of the popular arts division at Christie's, told the Observer that the tape is in "fragile, but playable condition" and is valued between $10,000-$15,000. "That's quite reasonable considering it is a rare piece and it's by Marley," said Barrett.

She added that those interested in participating in the auction can bid in person, by telephone or absentee (represented by another party).

Three of the songs on the tape were co-written by Norman and his songwriting partner, Al Pyfrom. They are Falling In And Out Of Love, Stay With Me and You Think I Have No Feelings which all appeared on Marley compilation albums released by the Los Angeles-based JAD label.

JAD is owned by African-American producer, Danny Sims, who started the label with soul singer Johnny Nash in the mid-1960s. Both men played a big role in Marley gaining international recognition in the latter stages of that decade when Nash, a Texan, covered several Marley songs.

Marley, who was 23 years-old at the time of the session, reportedly met Norman through Sims and Nash. Norman was eight years Marley's senior and a seasoned composer on the Rhythm and Blues circuit, a scene that fascinated the young Jamaican who was then leader of the R&B-influenced Wailers group.

According to a statement from Christie's, he and Marley jammed during the day at his apartment in the Bronx. In the evening, the two were joined by Pyfrom, Marley's wife, Rita and Norman's wife, Dorothy collaborated on the songs which were recorded on a cassette tape recorder.

Norman made such an impression on Marley that the singer invited him to Jamaica the following week to work on songs The Wailers were recording in Kingston. Marley would go on to superstardom in the 1970s with Chris Blackwell's Island Records; he died of cancer in 1981.

This is the second occasion that Christie's will be selling items associated with Marley. In December, 1997 several pieces including a drinking mug, an American Express card, a Fedora hat, a lyric sheet for the song, Ambush In The Night and a Hohner acoustic guitar were put on auction by the Rastafarian artiste's mother, Cedella Booker.

At next month's auction, signatures by members of The Beatles will also be up for sale. So too clothing worn by Elvis Presley in the films, Speedway and Double Trouble.

Posted: Fri - March 14, 2003 at 10:02 PM