THE WAILERS / “Dreamland”

This entry was posted on Sunday, November 26th, 2006 at 1:08 am and is filed under Cover. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

5 Responses to “THE WAILERS / “Dreamland””

Michael Szymanski Says:
May 4th, 2007 at 3:04 pm


My name is Rev. Mick Szymanski. I am writing this to you because of an article I read on the web regarding Bunny Wailer and the ‘stolen’ El Tempos song originally titled ‘My Dream Island’ or ‘My Dream Isle.’ It was originally recorded for VeeJay Records circa 1963. The reason I am interested is that the El Tempos were personal acquaintances of mine and as a musician, they were some of my heroes growing up in the Steel City of Lackawanna, New York.

I remember when that song came out. I was 14 years old and a drummer in a soul group. The El Tempos always took the time to help school us young, up and coming musicians. The guys names were Al ‘Bunk’ Johnson-guitar player and lead singer, Willie ‘Fish’ Lowe on keyboards, Otis’Screamin’ O.T.’ Toliver on bass and Leroy Brown on drums. Leroy was my personal hero and taught me a lot. And they used to let me sit in with them which was always a special deal. Fish and Otis have since passed away in the past few years. Leroy moved to Toronto years ago and hasn’t been seen for ages. Al Johnson became a Jehovah’s Witness and dropped out of sight although I did stop by his house about 8-10 years ago and brought him a cassette copy of his songs. He didn’t even have a copy for himself.

A friend of mine uncovered a CD copy of the El Tempos songs with also 2 never released. The CD was called ‘My Dream….’ Songs from a Chicago Street Corner Volume 3 – a release of the now defunct VeeJay catalogue. It was a Japanese import.

Anyway, sir, I’m glad that someone other than me and some local compatriots have taken up the El Tempos’ cause. They were a bunch of nice guys that deserved a bigger break than they got. As a side note, Otis Tolliver went on to play with Dyke and the Blazers, another R&B group from the Buffalo area that made some sweet soul music in the late 60’s and early 70’s.

I’m still a R&B player in my heart as well as being an Anglican Deacon with an interesting past. I hope to hear from you in the not too distant future.


Mick Szymanski

Bump Says:
June 23rd, 2008 at 11:56 pm

Champion reseach my brother! One day I will give you some more Bunny Wailer’s history. Guidance.

isdom24 Says:
November 28th, 2009 at 7:16 pm

It’s track 561 on the VEEJAY catalogue, but who has that?! I am a photojournalist and last night I interviewed Marcia Griffiths at Brooklyn Academy of Music. She said for years she too thought Bunny Wailer wrote it, especially when she did a cover. But then she heard the El Tempos version and was surprised. She described it as Doo Wop, unfortunately I forgot to ask her if the final lyrics of the El tempos’ version ended with “and surely we’ll never die!” Which many associate with Rastas not dying. Shame on me. Incidently, she also said Bunny Wailer wrote “Electric Slide” and she got the track from a box set of drum machine instrumentals from Toronto in 1982.

blackheartman Says:
December 16th, 2011 at 7:03 am there you go, the el tempos version. and sure enough, it ends with “and surely we’ll never die.”

I thought the dreamland from blackheart man used the same track as the lee perry version ha. that’s why i googled it, which brought me here ha

Leo Says:
August 26th, 2013 at 8:19 pm

Thank you for revealing the overt plagiarism of Al “Bunk” Johnsons’ song “My Dream Island” of the “EL TEMPOS” by Bunny. It was a great local band that turned on so many of us to music and life. The last time I saw Mr. Johnson was in a steel plant carrying a tool bag. Man, life can be soo unfair but his writing can never be stolen from him again. Mick Szymanski, who also wrote to you has much info on the “El Tempos.” I envied them as a young man and Mickey also let me use his drums when I had a gig. “El Tempos” forever Jack!!!!!!! Leo “Sky”.

Leave a Reply

| top |