Bob Marley and the Wailers

Picture of Bob Marley and the Wailers


Bob Marley and the Wailers - Legend ©1984 Island
1. Is This Love
2. No Woman No Cry
3. Could You Be Loved
4. Three Little Birds
5. Buffalo Soldier
6. Get Up Stand Up
7. Stir It Up
8. One Love/People Get Ready
9. I Shot The Sheriff
10. Waiting In Vain
11. Redemption Song
12. Satisfy My Soul
13. Exodus
14. Jamming

Yeah, mon...

This review can be summarized in two sentences. 1) Bob Marley's unique brand of reggae is the accessible, easily recognizable face of Jamaican reggae to the international non-Rastafarian masses. 2) His posthumous best-of set, Legend, is a classic and truly an essential album in the genre, if not an essential album, period.

Happily for you, cheapskate music lover, this disc contains in one handy package fourteen of the best songs Saint Bob ever wrote and recorded. Every song is a genuine classic, from love songs to dance tracks to impassioned protests. Part of the overwhelming appeal of this disc is that all the songs, even the uptempo numbers, share a laid-back, head-bobbing groove, redolent of slow-paced island life. This derives from the unique combination of Bob Marley's songwriting and vocal styles, in which the Wailers band percolates steadily in grand reggae fashion while Bob's lead vocal delivery is simultaneously smooth and soulful but yet unpolished and unpretentious. It's a potent combination and makes for a stunning tune. Another particularly appealing facet of Marley's tunes is that even when his lyrics deal with eternally controversial themes such as social injustice ("Buffalo Soldier," "I Shot The Sheriff") and religious beliefs ("Get Up Stand Up," "Exodus"), the message never intrudes on the music, which is a trap that many other religiously inspired musicians fall into.

Regarding one particular religious aspect of Marley's music...although it's halfway embarrassing to say because it's so damned obvious, Legend is quite possibly THE quintessential stoner album. Walk though the halls of any college dorm in the US, be it day or night, and you'll hear the muffled strains of "Is This Love" emanating from at least one room. And you darn well know that someone behind that door, the one with the towel stuffed in the crack underneath, is seriously considering phoning Domino's for a large pizza. Or two.

No other reggae artist (including the aberrations called UB40 and Ace of Base) has approached such massive, consistent crossover success; listen to this disc and you'll understand why Bob Marley is revered as a god in the reggae pantheon. Buy this album whether or not you appreciate herb. You'll still appreciate the music.

Jah Ras Tafari!

Review by Jonathan Arnett

Review date: 05/2000

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