Tag Archives: Bob Marley & The Wailers

Bob Marley and the Wailers LIVE!

16 Apr

marleylive

Like so many others, I was first turned onto reggae through this album, recorded in 1975 at the Lyceum in London and released on Island records (ILPS 9376) later that year.  Although Island was originally a Jamaican label, in the seventies it had been known as much for its English rock acts (Traffic, Free, Roxy Music, Fairport, Vinegar Joe, Nick Drake, Incredible String Band) than for its black artists.

I had heard singles by Jimmy Cliff and Desmond Dekker of course – as well as the ‘rude reggae’ innuendo-laden novelty singles (banned on the BBC) by Judge Dread who was, remarkably the first white artist to chart in Jamaica with a reggae track).  I also knew that the genre had a significant skinhead following which (given that many skins were associated with racism and far-right politics) always seemed odd.

Nevertheless, this was a really groundbreaking collection for a lot of white teens because it was an album rather than a single song and it had rock, rather than pop credibility (different from soul or Motown – although I suppose Stevie Wonder was crossing over too).

I’d picked up on the name of Bob Marley largely through  ‘I Shot The Sheriff’ (included as track two side two here) which Eric Clapton had covered  a couple of years before.  Probably my first exposure to Bob Marley’s voice though came through the single release (which opens side two of the LP) ‘No Woman No Cry’. This is seven minutes of wonderful music which makes me smile every time I hear it.  Although written by Marley, it is credited to his friend, Vincent Ford – so that the song’s royalties could be used to support a soup kitchen that Mr Ford ran in Trenchtown.  The album is worth having for this track alone.

Apart for those tracks, the third and final song on side two is the Bob Marley/Peter Tosh song ‘Get Up, Stand Up’.

In comparison to side two, the four songs on side one are not quite as strong – although ‘Burnin’ and Lootin” and ‘Lively Up Yourself’ are fairly well known.

It’s as a collection though, including the great front cover photo,  that this album really stands up.

 

Jamaican Rocksteady Party

18 Jun

JamRocksteady

My enjoyment of Caribbean music comes from three sources. Firstly, like many of my age, I was knocked out by the Bob Marley and the Wailers Live LP in the seventies – an album that recalibrated my dial in so many ways. Until then, my knowledge of black music was limited to Tamla Motown! Secondly, my university friend (subsequently radio DJ and all-round Good Egg),  Grant Goddard (do call me if you ever see this Grant) was massively into reggae and thirdly, the whole Two-Tone scene of Madness, The Specials and The Selecter – which was given an enormous boost by the Rock Against Racism campaign.

I don’t have the depth that others do about the Jamaican music scene but I bought this compilation of tracks from the mid-1960s, issued in 2007 on the Pulse imprint of Castle records (PLSCD825), off Amazon simply because I wanted to hear/learn/understand  the roots of reggae.

It’s spent much of the past two years in my car and played often!

What you get first are the conventions of the Rocksteady genre – and it is formulaeic.

But hey, so is the twelve bar blues – and look at how that inspired so much!

Picking favourites from the 20 tracks on this album  misses the point : These were primarily records for dancing – and they serve that purpose well. I listen to other stuff for other reasons but there are times when you can’t beat The Dragonaires, Errol Dunkley or the Maytals (the last of whom made the transition to reggae with aplomb).

Yes this is the only Rocksteady album in my collection but I hope it is not tokenistic – I love this stuff although I’m not going to seek out every last artist featured.