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"
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~ ~ Exodus Bob Marley and The Wailers ~ ~Everyone has heard of Bob Marley, right? Does everyone remember the first time they heard a Bob Marley track? I’m not sure I do, what I do remember is the happy, uplifting sound from Jamaica that enthralled and enticed my teenage self. I am however fairly sure that Jamming was the first track I heard and Exodus was without doubt the first reggae album I bought. Whilst I could not call myself a fan, I can certainly appreciate what Marley did for Reggae, Jamaica and Rastafarianism. I admire him as an artist, yet know little about the legend that is Bob Marley. One thing is for sure, if you are over I’d say about 30, if you think of reggae, you’ll think of Bob Marley or Bob Marley and the Wailers. Today I am reviewing one of Marley’s most famous albums Exodus:
~ Bob Marley:Born in Nine Miles, Jamaica on 6th February 1947 Robert Nesta Marley moved with his family to Kingston (Jamaica) when he was 5. He was taken from us far too soon when he lost his fight against cancer on 11th May 1981 aged just 34. When he was alive although respected by fellow musicians Bob Marley and the Wailers were awarded Rolling Stone Magazine "Band of the Year" award in 1976, Marley never really got the recognition he deserved and in 1994 he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Other posthumous awards followed and include the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001 and in the same year was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame joining such legends as Carlos Santana and Stevie Wonder. I have read on his website that in 2006 a Brooklyn street was renamed after him: ‘an eight block stretch of Brooklyn’s bustling Church Avenue, which runs through the heart of that city’s Caribbean community, was renamed Bob Marley Boulevard, the result of a campaign initiated by New York City councilwoman Yvette D. Clarke.’ (accessed October 2015).
As well as producing a great sound Marley was an unofficial spokesman for oppressed minorities worldwide.
~ From the Website:
‘With a legendary and ever-lengthening list of accomplishments attributable to both his life and music, Bob Marley advocated for social change while simultaneously allowing listeners to forget their troubles and dance.’And....
‘”Live for yourself and you will live in vain. Live for others, and you will live again.”’ (Marley)
In December 1999 the 1977 album Exodus was named as Album of the Century by Time Magazine and Marley’s song One Love was designated Song of the Millennium by the BBC.
~ The Band:
Bob Marley - vocals, acoustic & electric guitars, percussionAston "Familyman" Barrett - guitar, bass, percussion
Julian "Junior" Marvin - guitarTyrone Downie - keyboards, percussion, background vocals
Carlton Barrett - drums, percussionAlvin "Seeco" Patterson - percussion
Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths, Judy Mowatt - background vocals
Producer: Bob Marley & The Wailers
Label: IslandRecorded at Harry J's, Kingston, Jamaica and Island Studios, London, England between January & April 1977
Exodus introduced me to the feel good, laid back, slow paced rhythm mixed with the militant call for justice and freedom from oppression that the lyrics often gave us. As a poet and percussionist I had much to learn and now much to thank this album for.
~ Track List:
1. Natural Mystic2. So Much Things to Say
3. Guiltiness4. The Heathen
5. Exodus6. Jamming
7. Waiting in Vain8. Turn Your Lights Down Low
9. Three Little Birds10. One Love
~ Track by Track:1. Natural Mystic
The album opens with the slow steady vibe “da da da dum” bass and the drum comes in too and after a few repetitive bars the vocal comes in. The steady bass continues throughout and this track does maybe sound a little dated in 2015. What is still relevant though is that this is just such a great track to chill too, stretch out on bean bags and just chill as you let the music wash over you and ingress into your very soul.‘There’s a natural mystic flow going through the air’ (Marley).
2. So Much Things to Say
A lovely drum opens track two and the vocal is evident much earlier too. The opening is happy and joyful, it always makes me smile. So Much Things to Say, ups the vibe a little, the Caribbean sound and lyrics is wonderful with the female backing vocals and Marley’s lovely vocal. I challenge anyone not to nod their head or tap their foot to this track. The beat is still slow and steady.
Politically charged as Marley’s lyrics often were, guiltiness has a slight darkness to it, the same joyful Caribbean vibe is there in the base line, but the slowed down pace of the vocal and the lyrics create a charged atmosphere.
‘These are the big fish
Who always try to eat down the small fish,
just the small fish.
I tell you what: they would do anything
To materialize their every wish
Say woe to the down-pressors
They'll eat the bread of sorrow!’ (Marley).
A change of sound and pace again, the bouncy vibe and a repetitive lyric of the chorus and mystical sound give this track an African feel.‘He who fight and run away, live to fight another day’ (Marley).
5. ExodusThis is a hair on the back of the neck stand up song. The album title track Exodus features the typical heavy bass line and vibe, yet there is a lot more going on than the reggae beat here. The track has a complicated arrangement at times, that seem to deliberately make the listener, stop and listen to the track, to the message.
I love the way that the music will play one side and then the other as is so often the case in older stereo tracks. This is a great track to chill to, listen to or better still, crack up the stereo, put on the headphones and just APPRECIATE!‘Yeah-yeah-yeah, well Uh
Open your eyes and look within
Are you satisfied
with the life you're living? Uh
We know where we're going uh
We know where we're from
We're leaving Babylon oh
We're going to our fathers land
Exodus movement of Jah people Ooh yeah
Exodus movement of Jah people
Send us another brother Moses.....’ (Marley).
6. JammingI love this song, I love the happiness, the simplicity, the ting ting of the percussion, the ever present heavy bass line. This was the song that Marley sang at the One Love Peace Concert in 1978 when he called the contentious leaders of Jamaica’s two major political parties on stage and forced them to join hands. Jamming is a typical Marley song where the happy vibe disguises the political lyrics. If you have not heard a Bob Marley track, sit down, find this track on-line and let it wash over you. I am fairly sure it was my introduction to Reggae and the innocent, joyful sound is infectious and uplifting.
‘No bullet can stop us now’ (Marley).7. Waiting in Vain
Begins with a ‘Now, 1, 2 3, click of drum sticks’ and into the lyrics. This is the Bob Marley love song. Although once again the lyrics could easily be politically charged:‘Don’t treat me like a puppet on a string’ (Marley).
Waiting in Vain is a much more western influenced pop song, with its bridges and guitar break. The reggae and great Bob Marley vocal is still there though.8. Turn Your Lights Down Low
An upbeat drumbeat opens this track, that has a clear, summer’s day feel to the production. Indeed, I remember, looking back now how on hearing this I would imagine Marley in the dreary rain of a London day, missing the sunny skies and warm breezes of Jamaica. Why, I don’t know because that is not the lyrical content, it was as though the poet in Marley spoke to the poet in me. Following on from Waiting in Vain perfectly the lyrics ‘I want to give you some love, I want to give you some good, good loving’ (Marley) continues the romantic feeling. The tempo is slow and laborious.9. Three Little Birds
Love it! This track featured on my favourite song ever Cafe essay and it really is a track that never, ever fails to brighten my mood. Indeed, this track should be the “hold” music for the Samaritans. ‘Singing, don’t worry about a thing; every little thing is going to be alright’ (Marley). The reggae vibe is laid back and clear, the ever present bass line slightly subdued, with the joyful percussion brought forward beautifully, it is possible to hear every little tap, shake and bang. At the very front is the happy Marley vocal.
10. One Love
‘I’m pleading for mankind’ (Marley).
~ Exodus The Album as a Whole:
I like the way that one track follows another, they fit and the album is very well produced and thought out. Individually they work as well, but as a whole, in this order the ten tracks pull together and form a whole.The distinct element of Marley’s music is mostly his songs have an upbeat, happy, bouncy feel to them. Whilst conversely the lyrics tell a very different story altogether. I think it is generally agreed that whilst listening to Marley’s music everything is right, ones God is in heaven and all is right in the world whilst letting the music float over your senses. The laid back Jamaican attitude touches all corners of the world. It is impossible not to smile and nod when listening to this album, the happy vibe is contagious and unavoidable. However, pay attention, listener to the lyrics, think about them and digest them, frequently the lyrical undercurrent is very, very different. This is a form of brainwashing. Pay attention to Marley, luckily he was one of the good guys. Listen closely and those happy, bouncy lyrics frequently contain a militant, politically charged message, almost a call to arms at times. Marley was fighting, fighting for peace, love and most importantly justice. Like others before him, Marley captured the world stage and used his god given talent to spread the word, to try and make us better people and the world a better place.
Indeed, as well as the political element, Marley chose with the contrast between the melody and the lyrics to resist the conventions of popular music at the time. I do believe that “Waiting in Vain” is the only conventional style pop song on the whole album and why it was produced in that way, I have no idea.Reggae generally deals more with universal aspects of justice, injustice, African unity, and the spiritual life of Rastafarianism. Cleverly and boldly Marley built on the slow musical Jamaican bouncy vibe that toned down and softened the message of the music that was so often politically charged and militant. Do not underestimate the influence Mr Robert Nesta Marley had on popular music and world politics. His legacy lives on and each one of us owes him a far greater debt than we may realise. This however, is a review of one particular album, not the man who wrote the songs and sung the lyrics. Whilst of course the two are intertwined I hope I have created food for thought about Marley and that at least one reader will stop and think and maybe just maybe, decide to find out more about Bob Marley and what he stood for and what Exodus the album did for humanity. To quote from a well known store “Every Little Helps” Every little difference that Marley made helped us in some way.
Exodus is sold in a fairly plain looking gold covered sleeve that features the title boldly in red across the centre and the name of the band centred as well at the top. The vinyl album was a nice blue centre and the inner sleeve is where the track list and album information can be found.
~ Album Cover Work:
Like so many great albums Exodus has been remastered onto CD, updated, recreated and “improved”. The original was so good, so of its time, yet timeless, I cannot see how anything could improve it. It is still possible to buy the original from places such as eBay or Oxfam Music. Whilst the CD versions can of course be bought from the usual outlets. At the time of writing Amazon prices are £5.99 for the CD and £20.99 for the vinyl.
~ Price & Availability:
I really like this album, I am really pleased that hearing “Three Little Birds” on the radio a few months ago reminded me of Marley and that this album was in my collection. With just the single track and of course I could be wrong seeming dated, this album deserves a listen in the 21st C just as it deserves its place in history.
~ Conclusion & Stars:
Stars an easy 5/5.Thanks for reading
Product Information : Exodus - Bob Marley
Manufacturer's product description1 CD(s) - Reggae - Label: Island - Distributor: Universal Music - Released: 19/11/2001 - 731454889827
Listed on Ciao since: 18/07/2000