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Bunny Wailer's father's home to become a heritage site

BY BRIAN BONITTO
Associate Editor —
Auto & Entertainment
bonittob@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

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ANOTHER Trench Town residence linked to The Wailers' legacy is to be designated a Protected National Heritage site by the Jamaica National Heritage Trust.

The property, located at number 17 to 19 Second Street in Trench Town, is the former home of Bunny Wailer's father, Thaddeus “Thaddy Shut” Livingston. An official letter was sent to Wailer on April 12 and “gazetted” one week later. If there are no objections, a formal announcement will be made.

“It's being preserved for its artistic, historical and architectural significance,” Maxine Stowe, Wailer's manager told the Jamaica Observer.

She said the site played a pivotal role in the embryonic stages of The Wailers, and Thaddeus Livingston was at its core.

“He is the foundation of it all, as his life story brought The Wailers together,” she said.

According to Stowe, Livingston — a ganja farmer and owner of several bars in the Corporate Area — acquired the house around the “late 1950s — early 1960s”. He lived there with Bob Marley's mother, Cedella Booker, and their daughter Pearl. Marley and Wailer also shared the residence.

“When Miss Booker migrated to Delaware, Thaddeus, Bunny Wailer and Bob had to take care of Pearl at the house until she could join her mother,” she said. “Prior to that, they were all living in Nine Miles... That's where Robert (Bob) and Bunny met. This set the stage for The Wailers' coming together.”

Peter Tosh, who lived in the Trench Town community, was a good friend and gambling partner of Wailer.

“They would all walk through the yard on their way to Culture Yard,” Stowe related.

In 1964, the trio — Tosh, Wailer, and Marley — then members of the Wailing Wailers, recorded their first single Simmer Down. Produced by Clement “Coxson” Dodd, the ska number was a smash hit and propelled the group into the spotlight.

“It was Thaddeus's influence that led them to meet Coxson as well as Mortimer Planno (Rastafarian elder). Thaddeus and these men were peers. So, he is definitely the foundation of why everything came together. He also supported the group,” said Stowe.

She stressed that it is important Livingston's contribution be acknowledged as the “narrative regarding The Wailers is somewhat one-sided”.

“Livingston also owned the Washington Gardens residence where Bunny Wailers' Museum is located. So his father's history is fundamental,” she said.

Currently the home in Trench Town is occupied by “old timers”, none of whom are related to the Livingston family.

Culture Yard, another of the Wailers' Trench Town haunts, received heritage site status in May 2007.

Thaddeus Livingston died in April 1992. He was 79.

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