Tue | Apr 20, 2021

Sister says Bunny Wailer was a straight talker

Published:Wednesday | March 3, 2021 | 12:22 AMCarl Gilchrist/Gleaner Writer
Sisters of the late Neville Livingston, more popularly known as Bunny Wailer, gather in his Nine Miles hometown in St Ann on Tuesday. From left are Claudette Livingston, who is also the sister of the late Bob Marley; Vinette Robb-Oddman and Monica Robb.
Sisters of the late Neville Livingston, more popularly known as Bunny Wailer, gather in his Nine Miles hometown in St Ann on Tuesday. From left are Claudette Livingston, who is also the sister of the late Bob Marley; Vinette Robb-Oddman and Monica Robb.

Like reggae king Bob Marley, Neville Livingston attended Stepney Primary School in St Ann as youngsters, having moved to the Garden Parish from his birthplace in Kingston. For years, he and his younger sisters, Vinette, Millicent, and Pearl, made...

Like reggae king Bob Marley, Neville Livingston attended Stepney Primary School in St Ann as youngsters, having moved to the Garden Parish from his birthplace in Kingston.

For years, he and his younger sisters, Vinette, Millicent, and Pearl, made Nine Miles their home, before he eventually moved back to Kingston.

Livingston died on Tuesday aged 73.

Vinette Robb-Oddman, a paternal sister through Thaddeus Livingston, remembers those early pre-Wailers days with fond memories and paid tribute to her brother on Tuesday.

WATCH: Bunny Wailer: A loving and kind brother

Robb-Oddman, who still lives in Nine Miles, served as councillor for the Calderwood division for more than 18 years and as mayor of St Ann’s Bay for one term. She said that it was largely unknown that she and Neville were siblings.

“My mother was married before and gave me her married name, so he (Wailer) was my brother,” she said in an interview with The Gleaner, explaining the name difference.

“I’m really feeling down, but because I knew of his health situation, it was kind of an expected situation.”

Robb-Oddman visited the artiste, better known as Bunny Wailer, two weeks ago. Livingston has been in and out of hospital because of strokes he suffered over the last two and a half years. The last one was occurred last summer.

She believes that the disappearance of Wailer’s lifelong partner, Jean Watt, would have weighed on his mind and played a part in his passing.

Bunny Wailer’s family said last year that he was being “medically sequestered” to cope with the stress triggered by the disappearance Watt, his partner of 50 years.

But Robb-Oddman recalls well the good times the siblings had as kids in Nine Miles.

“I was small, but I remember. And after he went back to Kingston, it took a while for him to come back here because even when Bob Marley died, he did not come here. But after a while, he came back.

“He came even after he had his first stroke, he came to visit, he slept here.”

Robb-Oddman said, with a chuckle, that Livingston fancied himself as a bit of “girls’ man”, but was a frank, transparent, and “no-nonsense” person..

“If anything he would just tell you how he feels, that was the type of person he was,” she told The Gleaner.

And she has a special pride of place for his music.

Her favourite is Electric Boogie, a collaboration with Marcia Griffiths.

“I personally think his music his good, his performance was always great,” she said.

“When I watch him, I wonder how he made those dance moves. He was quite brilliant, very creative in his dancing. Don Dada, the original Wailer!”