Newest Review: ... of every single album, so, there are: 16 official studio albums from Bob Marley & The Wailers, 4 official live albums from Bob Ma... more
Legend - Bob Marley
Member Name: Essexgirl2006
Legend - Bob Marley
Advantages: Extensive collection, so many memorable tracks
Disadvantages: 'Sun is Shining' is missing
Since seeing The Wailers perform at the London Rise Against Racism festival, it reminded me of how many great songs they have in their repertoire with Bob Marley and decided it was long overdue to buy a Best Of compilation.
The album starts off with Is This Love the Marley penned classic from 1978 and the song really needs no introduction. It was taken from the Kaya album, which revolved around the duel themes of love and marijuana, and this instance the song was about love. It is a beautiful song, and certainly at the Rise concert, got the crowd singing. It is followed by No Woman, No Cry originally from the Natty Dread album and is about the struggle of life in the Trenchtown, the rundown part of Kingston, Jamaica where Bob grew up with his mother after his father died. The version of the song on Legend is not from Natty Dread but from Live! which was a live album that the band recorded in 1975 at the Lyceum in London. It is worth noting that the writing credit for the song is given to a Vincent Ford, a friend of Marley’s who ran a soup kitchen in Trenchtown. It is thought that Marley himself actually wrote it, but the royalties kept the soup kitchen afloat. The song stands out, particularly live, because of the hook “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” chanted repeatedly.
Could You be Loved is the next track and is taken from the 1980 Uprising album. The single reached No 5 in the UK singles charts, the highest any Bob Marley and The Wailers track reached. This is followed by Three Little Birds, (the ‘Don’t Worry About A Thing’ song) from the 1977 Exodus album, one of band’s more commercially and critically successful albums. Bob’s son Ziggy recently collaborated with Jamaican dance hall artist Sean Paul on a cover of this song. Buffalo Soldier, the next track, was on the post-humous 1983 album Confrontation and is a catchy, classic reggae song written about the black soldiers conscripted to fight in the American Civil War.
The CD also contains early tracks such as Get Up, Stand Up written by Bob and original Wailer Peter Tosh (McIntosh) and is on The Wailers 1973 Burnin’ album. At this time they worked as The Wailers only, Bob Marley and The Wailers didn’t become an entity until after 1974. The song became the anthem of Amnesty International and was important in the Rasta movement. Its militancy is quite typical of the Wailers at this time. This is followed by Stir it Up, a gentle, chilled track from The Wailers’ first album Catch a Fire, released in 1973, the album was important in the fact that it brought reggae out of Jamaica and into the international arena.
Easy Skanking in the next track, taken from the album Kaya, and is homage to marijuana. I was not as familiar with this track as some of the others but it is as slow and laid-back as you imagine it would be! This is followed by One Love/People Get Ready, another of the well known songs (although not a hit in the UK) where Marley was influenced by Curtis Mayfield and his song People Get Ready. Back to early Wailers songs, the next track on the compilation is I Shot the Sheriff, a song about justice with a great reggae beat from the Burnin’ album. It was covered successfully by Eric Clapton who had a US No 1 and a UK Top Ten hit with his version. Then we are back to the Exodus album with Waiting In Vain, a beautiful, love song about unrequited love.
I was not overly familiar with the next track on the disc, Redemption Song from 1980’s Uprising album. It is one of his more religious songs written whilst Marley was fighting cancer and in a lot of pain, according to his wife, Rita. It is an acoustic track and Marley sings about emancipation from mental slavery. Satisfy My Soul is a gentle ska/reggae hybrid from the Kaya album, a song that fitted in quite well with the commercial ska movement in the UK at the time. Exodus, from the album of the same name, was Marley’s second UK hit. Written whilst Marley and his wife were living in London, after an assassination attempt on them in their Jamaican home, it is possibly influenced by this but also the Rasta movement and has a strong funk beat running through it. Jamming is the penultimate track, a catchy, popular track that was Marley’s first UK Top Ten (with Punky Reggae Party). While at first listen this seems like “I wanna jam it with you” is about a musical jam session, but on closer inspection is actually more about uniting in front of God (or Jah as the Rastafarian God is known). The final track is a bonus track, Punky Reggae Party, described as a ‘tribute to the flourishing cultural intersection in the UK of reggae and punk rock’, although it definitely sounds more reggae than punk to me.
Marley developed a form of skin cancer which spread around his body; he died in Miami in May 1981, unable to make it home to Jamaica to die. He was 36.
Who were the Wailers: Bob, his school friend Bunny Livingston (later known as Bunny Wailer) and Peter Tosh were the Wailers at the beginning of their international success, although had previously been a six piece. After Bunny and Peter left and the group was disbanded in 1974, Bob re-formed them as his backing band featuring:
Aston Barrett – Bass Guitar, percussion
Carlton Barrett – Drums and percussion
Al Anderson – Lead Guitar
Junior Marvin – Lead Guitar, backing vocals
Tyrone Downie – Keyboards, percussion, backing vocals
Alvin Patterson – Percussion
I-Threes:Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths, Judy Mowatt – Backing Vocals
Earl Lindo – Keyboards, percussion, backing vocals
Earl Smith – Lead and Rhythm guitar, percussion
Donald Kinsey – Lead Guitar
Bernard Harvey – Piano, organ
Summary: A definitive collection of a very influential man.