Exodus - Bob Marley

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Exodus - Bob Marley

1 CD(s) - Reggae - Label: Island - Distributor: Universal Music - Released: 19/11/2001 - 731454889827

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Review of "Exodus - Bob Marley"

published 04/08/2000 | Mauri
Member since : 24/07/2000
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After almost 16 years on Ciao I'm still here! Thanks in advance for all the ratings, much appreciated! Sad to see so many familiar faces have gone after I got back from a lengthy break.
Pro Music, lyrics, beat
Cons none
very helpful
Quality and consistency of tracks
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How does it compare to the artist's other releases

"Jamming till the end of time"

When you think of Reggae music you think of Bob Marley. More than any other artist he personified the musical genre and Rastafarianism the religious movement so closely associated with it. ‘Exodus’ was recorded in 1977 and for many it represents Marley most accessible work.


Robert Nesta Marley was born on February 6, 1947 in Nine Miles, Jamaica. The family moved to Kingston when Marley was 5 years old. In Kingston Marley met Bunny Livingston and Peter Tosh, together they absorbed the many musical influences available on the island and eventually formed a group ‘The Wailers’ releasing their first single ‘Judge Not’ in 1963. The Wailers soon became one of the most popular bands in Jamaica with their distinctive interpretation of the dance hall music known as ‘Ska’. Like many young Jamaicans at the time music was a way to escape the endemic violence of the townships. The Wailers had the self-belief and the talent to make this come true.

‘The Wailers’ soon developed their music, slowed down the beat of their songs and added a much heavier bass backing to produce what we would calls today as a reggae sound.

Their big break happened in 1971 when Island Records made history by being the first major record label to sign a reggae artist. Success followed with the release of Catch A Fire’ (1972). Bob Marley changed the line-up in early 1973 when Bunny Livingston and Peter Tosh left to pursue solo careers. The group now know as Bob Marley and the Wailers achieved even more international success with the release of other albums ‘Natty Dread’ (1974) ‘Live!' (1975) Rastaman Vibration (1976) and ‘Exodus’ (1977). Increasingly Marley a firm political stance in his music, highlighting racism, black subjugation and his Rastafarian beliefs.

Marley soon became the unofficial spokesman for oppressed minorities across the world.

Bob Marley died from Cancer in 1982 and the age of 36, but his musical and political influence is still felt today.


Bob Marley began recording Exodus in 1977 in London after recovering from an assassination attempt. Marley had become involved in the turbulent and dangerous world of Jamaican politics and his apparent endorsement of one of the leading candidates in the presidential election had made him a target for certain extreme members of the opposing faction. Whether these events brought about a change in Marley is hard to say but a noticeable change in the nature of his music can clearly be seen.

1. Natural mystic
2. So much things to say
3. Guiltiness
4. Heathen
5. Exodus
6. Jammin'
7. Waiting in vain
8. Turn your lights down low
9. Three little birds
10.One love/People get ready

Extra tracks on CD
11. Jammin' (2) (long version)
12. Punky reggae party (long version)

Previous record releases had been uncompromisingly political including fiery lyrics and delivery. Exodus marks a change for Marley as a songwriter we see a more reflective, introspective side. Having said this the strong political songs are still there like the very first song ‘Natural Mystic’. This is a beautifully constructed song, which starts with an almost inaudible drum and base rhythm slowly building up in volume before the lyrics start. The steady beat increasing in intensity reminds us of listening to the distant sound of drums, slowly almost imperceptibly getting closer like an army on the march steadily inevitably getting nearer. When the Marley begins to sing, his words echo the feeling the listener has experienced

“If you listen carefully now you will hear
There's a natural mystic blowing through the air”

This song more than any other on the record is a an anguished cry for understanding

“Many more will have to suffer,
Many more will have to die - don't ask me why”

A comment of n the senseless violence that Marley saw around him in his own country where political divisions had seen the regular death of many young people, but also for other conflicts in the world in Angola and South Africa.
In the same way that the song never really starts, fading in gradually it also never stops but just fades out as if it were being carried in the wind.
The political theme is also clearly seen in the 4th track The Heathen. This is a rally to arms for all oppressed people and the lyrics make this quite clear

“Rise up fallen fighters;
Rise and take your stance again.
'Tis he who fight and run away
Live to fight another day”
In the track exodus a much more upbeat offering Marley is using the symbolism of the biblical Exodus to tell people that they can change their leaves and find a better place for themselves, not a physical movement but a spiritual one

“open your eyes and look within
are you satisfied with the life
you're living”

As with all Marley's lyrics there are simple sentiments here in themselves not outstanding but when married to the powerful beats and the mesmerising quality of the music the message become compelling and universal regardless of barriers of language or culture. Listening to Exodus you don’t really have to know what Marley is saying to be left in now doubt as to the anger and emotion of the music.

What is different about this record from previous ones are the songs that follow and take up the second half of record. Jammin’ which was to become his best known hit is a song that bring people together, it is a positive reaffirmation of life and encompasses a much more positive outlook to sharply contrast the earlier more confrontational songs. This is call for understanding an a plea to come together

“No bullet can stop us now, we neither beg nor we will bow
Neither can be bought nor sold.
We all defend the right, JAH JAH children must unite
For life is worth much more than gold”

The track is often misunderstood as simply an upbeat about people coming together and having fun as with most of Marley’s compositions deeper meaning can be found within. Other tracks such as ‘Waiting in vain’ and ‘Turn your lights down low’ are simple love songs while ‘Three little birds’ is just an upbeat serene song, which basically says

“don't worry about a thing
every little thing is gonna be alright”.

Could the more conciliatory tone to Marley’s music in the later songs on Exodus, have been brought about by his brush with death at the hand of a gunman? Maybe that event made Marley realise the power his music had over people’s lives and feeling and he realised with that came a responsibility to try and use his influence to bring about peace and reconciliation.

One gripe I have about the CD as opposed to the original vinyl record is the inclusion of the extra tracks. I don’t object to having more music for my money but Exodus was a perfectly balanced production with all the songs complementing each other the running order being faultless. Adding tow extra tracks on to this rather spoils the effect. Maybe it would have been better to keep the length of the CD the same but to sell it at a reduced price!

On ‘Exodus’ the wailers were:

Family Man Barrett-Bass
Carlton Barrett-Drums
Junior Marvin- Lead guitar
Wya Lindo-Keyboards
Seeco Patterson-Percussion

The record is released on TUFF GONG records (cat number 5488982) for around £8.99


With the success of the record and especially the worldwide commercial success of the single Jammin’ Marley began to be criticised by some for having ‘sold out’ to the very Babylon that he had been so ready to rage against in his earlier music. It is true that his later records especially ‘Uprising’ didn’t seem to be as focused on the themes that represented the core of his spiritual beliefs. I also have to admit that I prefer the earlier recording and I find some of the later songs formulaic in their composition. Having said this I think to accuse Marley of selling out is unfair, he mellowed as he got older but I don’t think he ever approached his music without passion and integrity.

Marley was rightly considered the first musical superstar of the Third World; the mere fact that both Africans and Europeans could relate and enjoy his music was a political statement not to be underestimated. Exodus although probably not his best album, is the record that exemplifies his music best and includes an perfect balance of ‘Rebel’ music and ‘One Love’.

In 1978 Marley organised a peace concert in Jamaica and brought together the two feuding political factions on stage later that year he was awarded the Peace Medal of the Third World from the United Nations. His commitment to peace was also recognised after this death when hundreds of thousands of people, including the Prime Minister attended his funeral. The Jamaican government posthumously awarded him the Order of Merit, and in 1991 his birthday was made in to a public holiday, Bob
Marley Day.

Marley’s musical importance generally and the importance of ‘Exodus’ cannot be minimised, with him the wave of reggae artist that followed in his wake, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Aswad, Black Uhuru and many others would not have had the impact they did and I turn the impact of Reggae and Ska on modern black dance music might have been less than it is.

Time Magazine voted Exodus as ‘the most important album of the 20th century’. While many including me might dispute the worth or validity of such an honour there is no doubt that Bob Marley was a great songwriter, singer, musician and more importantly an ambassador for oppressed people around the world. Exodus more than any other record made this possible.

One Love!

Thanks for reading and rating this opinion!

© Mauri 2002

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Comments on this review

  • COOOEEE published 27/05/2002
    I play this all the time. Great review. Fionaxx
  • spiceyspice published 24/05/2002
    I have this one amongst my collection, loved Bob marley and now know most of the songs on this album jammin is one of my favs, and no woman no cry so when I was looking you up it caught my eye di
  • seagulls-lost-horizon published 21/05/2002
    exellent op, with good detail. steve
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Product Information : Exodus - Bob Marley

Manufacturer's product description

1 CD(s) - Reggae - Label: Island - Distributor: Universal Music - Released: 19/11/2001 - 731454889827

Product Details

EAN: 731454889827


Listed on Ciao since: 18/07/2000