.The only reggae musician to achieve worldwide superstardom, his songs preached peace, love and understanding to a wicked world.
One of the most fascinating developments of the Seventies was the rise of Bob Marley, a Jamaican musician who brought reggae to the attention of a pop industry that was almost painfully pan-Atlantic in its outlook. Marley's death in 1981 deprived the world of one of its most gifted artists. The first superstar of the developing world, he had done much to revive the flagging political awareness among young people, and left a legacy of songs that continue to inspire musicians across the continents.
The man who enjoyed a near-religious devotion among his fans emerged from a hybrid culture, but the legacy of slavery and the notion of an African homeland always informed his music, even after he'd been feted by Western audiences. Fathered by a white military man, Marley (born 6 February 1945) grew up in the impoverished Trench Town district of Kingston, Jamaica, where he discovered the music of black America via US radio stations.
After recording his first disc, 'Judge Not', for a small local label in 1962, he formed the Wailing Wailers with two friends, Bunny Livingston vocals, percussion and Peter Tosh vocals, guitar. They linked up with leading sound system man Coxsone Dodd and had released a string of ska-style singles by the mid-Sixties.
After a short stay in America, he returned to Jamaica in 1966, where he soon joined the growing Rastafarian movement, a religious group that envisaged the creation of an independent black state in Africa. The Wailers reunited in 1967, emerging with a more subdued rock steady beat and their own record label. One song, 'Stir It Up', recorded in 1967, was a hit for Johnny Nash several years later.
By the end of the decade, the Wailers teamed up with noted producer Lee Perry, a union that would dramatically alter the course of Jamaican music. Augmented by brothers Carlton drums and Aston Barrett bass, the rhythm section of Perry's studio band, the Wailers pioneered a new reggae sound, characterized by a bubbling, bass-heavy rhythm, chopping guitars and slow, sublime melodies.
Having signed to CBS while on a trip to Europe with Nash, Marley visited Island Records boss Chris Blackwell, who'd built up his long-standing Jamaican company into one of the UK's premier rock labels. Blackwell signed up the band, gave them a sizeable advance, and began to promote them as he would a major rock band, thus taking their music's appeal to a much wider audience.
The resulting album, 'Catch A Fire' (1973), was a critical success and influential musicians
like Keith Richards and Eric Clapton were soon alerted to reggae music. The Wailers toured Britain and the US to considerable acclaim and a second album, 'Burnin" (1973), quickly followed, bringing with it two Marley classics, 'Get Up Stand Up' and 'I Shot The Sheriff.
Personal differences led to the departure of Livingston (later known as Bunny Wailer) and Tosh by the time 'Natty Dread' (1975) was released, and the group was renamed Bob Marley & the Wailers, in deference to the singer's leading role. Their place was filled by a female backing trio, the I-Threes (including Bob's wife Rita), and this line-up performed two now-legendary shows at the Lyceum in London, immortalized on the 'Live!' album (1975).
The record, and the single lifted from it, "No Woman No Cry", charted in the UK, a feat repeated in the US in 1976 when the next album, 'Rastaman Vibration', was issued.
News of Marley's newly conferred status had filtered back home, and he returned to Jamaica for a free concert late in 1976, ostensibly to quell the rising tensions on the streets of Kingston. But it backfired when gunmen broke into his house and shot him - Marley however decided to defy those who espoused violence and appeared on stage anyway.
He returned to London, and recorded his best-known album 'Exodus' (1977), which enjoyed a year-long chart run and provided him with three hit singles, 'Waiting In Vain', 'Jammin" and the title track. It was a pivotal release, breaking into new markets, but caused some to lament the softening of the hard-hitting social messages of his music.
Those dissenting voices grew louder when 1978's 'Kaya' appeared, although the beauty of love songs like 'Is This Love' and the sublimely relaxed 'Satisfy My Soul' could not be denied. That same year, Marley returned to Jamaica for the One Love Peace Concert, where he managed to secure a rapprochement between Prime Minister Michael Manley and Opposition leader Edward Seaga. After receiving a United Nations Medal of Peace, Marley ended the year in Ethiopia, home of the Rastafari religion.
Although another live album, 'Babylon By Bus' (1978), was basically a crowd-pleasing set, 1979's 'Survival' marked a clear return to political writing, particularly with 'Zimbabwe' and 'Africa Unite'. The group's standing among the indigenous African population was confirmed when the newly constituted Zimbabwe government invited the group to appear at the Independence Ceremony in 1980.
Marley & the Wailers continued to maintain their recording and concert profile throughout that year, releasing 'Uprising' (which boasted 'Could You Be Loved' and 'Redemption Song') and embarking on an extensive European tour. But plans to follow this up with US dates were curtailed after two shows at
Madison Square Garden, New York, when Marley was taken seriously ill.
The diagnosis was cancer. Marley had previously refused attention for a toe injury sustained while playing football. Now things had turned more serious, he opted for "alternative" medical treatment in Germany. However, despite showing signs of recovery, Bob
Marley died in Miami on 11 May 1981, aged 36, while on his way home to Jamaica. The world lost a champion of the poor and under privileged, and one of the finest songwriters of his generation.
[from The Ultimate Encyclopedia Of Rock, Carlton Books, 1994. p204-205]
(Live in Ahoy, Rotterdam, Holland. 7/7/1978)
July 1978, and Bob Marley and the Wailers are still riding high off of their now-historic performance at the One Love Peace Concert in April, and their successful shows in the U.S. and Canada. Of course it is unfortunate that both music critics and fans are canning the band’s latest album “Kaya”, but the show must go on. Every Time. The band trods through England, France, Spain, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and finally, the Netherlands.For an album that is generally panned by critics as being”lightweight”, the supporting tour is a massive success. The venues in Europe are even larger than they were the year before on the Exodus tour, The Wailers’ most successful tour at that time. Marley has a little surprise for the European fans this year. Al Anderson is back on-board after a stint with Peter Tosh’s backing band. With two seasoned rock guitarists in Junior Marvin and Al Anderson, Marley’s Wailers are ready to play to a sold-out crowd at the Ahoy Club in Rotterdam, Netherlands.
Martijn Huisman writes of Bob Marley and the Wailers in Babylon By Bus: Bob Marley and the Wailers in the Netherlands:
“After having done shows all across Europe, Marley and the Wailers stopped by in the Netherlands in July to play at a sold out Ahoy in Rotterdam. Initially, organizer Mojo Concerts had planned and advertised a reggae festival with Marley and the Wailers headlining at the Groenoordhal in Leiden. In June, for reasons unknown, the venue was suddenly changed to the Ahoy in Rotterdam. On Friday July 7, the Ahoy was literally filled with blue hashish fumes as VPRO radio made recordings of the entire concert. The stage at the Ahoy was decorated with huge banners bearing the portraits of Haile Selassie, Marcus Garvey, and a flag in the Ethiopian Rasta colors red-green-yellow on which ‘One Love’ was written. Music magazine Oor had, like in previous years, sent a reporter. Harry van Nieuwenhoven had been replaced, however, by Pieter Franssen. Disappointing new album or not, Franssen rightly noted that Marley was the only Jamaican able to get the Ahoy sold out with his “reggae based on rock” music. The opening act for Marley was the British reggae band Steel Pulse. Most visitors could hear very little of the four songs, due to congestion at the entrances and the low volume at which the music was played. The more than nine thousand spectators had to wait a long time to see Marley, and were in the meantime ‘entertained’ with recordings from Bob Dylan and Eric Clapton concerts – resulting in massive whistling by the audience. At half past nine the lights suddenly went out. “The otherwise cold concrete Ahoy’ hall is immediately much more intimate. [...] When the first notes of the well known ‘Them belly full’ are heard, no one sits on his seat anymore. Standing on chairs everybody sings along, led by the stirring movements of the Jamaican. It results in a great atmosphere”. Marley and his band would play sixteen songs that evening. Besides many older songs, ‘Crisis’, ‘Running Away’, and ‘Easy Skanking’ from the new album Kaya were played, although these were not appreciated by the audience very much who were clearly less interested in the new songs. As always and everywhere, the public in Rotterdam liked classics such as ‘No Woman No Cry’, ‘I Shot the Sheriff’ and ‘Them Belly Full’ the most.
Pieter Franssen noted that especially during ‘Concrete Jungle’ – an old song from the 1973 album Catch a Fire – ‘War’, ‘Crazy Baldhead’, ‘Jamming’, ‘Get Up Stand Up’,” and the closing song ‘Exodus’ it was apparent how good and unparalleled Marley and the Wailers actually were. Like his predecessor Van Nieuwenhoven, Franssen was also more critical than most other journalists. At crucial moments during the concert the volume was suddenly much louder, ‘mass manipulation’ according to Franssen. Positive, however, was the excellent guitar work by Junior Marvin and Al Anderson and the appearance and ‘sweet voices’ of the I-Threes. “Wearing turbans in the rasta colors red, green and yellow, they were, as they stood there rocking, a feast for the eyes!” Conclusion: “hand clapping, lighters, loudly belting out and at the end frenzied dancing: the reggae party of the year” [taken from bobmarleyconcerts.com]
Ripped from CD in mp3 format (320kps), this Unauthorised Recording by Grapefruit is a release of a popular bootleg previously made available under the title of 'Bob Marley and the Wailers, Rotterdam, Holland, '78' (see cover below-right). The quality of the recording is excellent and definately taken from a Soundboard recording, probably intended for radio release. Although the track listing on this release is missing some of the tracks from the original (see bobmarleyconcerts.com), Grapefruit has done this to keep their release to a single CD format.
As per usual, full album artwork is included along with select photos of Marley and his Wailers.
01 - Positive Vibration
02 - Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)
03 - Rebel Music
04 - War / No More Trouble
05 - Running Away / Crazy Baldhead
06 - I Shot The Sheriff
07 - No Woman, No Cry
08 - Is This Love
09 - Jamming
10 - Easy Skanking
11 - Get Up, Stand Up
12 - Exodus
Bob Marley - Vocals, Guitar
Ashton Barrett - Bass
Carlton Barrett - Drums
Junior Marvin - Lead Guitar
Tyrone Downie - Keyboards
Earl Lindo - Organ, Clavinet
Junior Marvin - Guitar
Alvin Patterson - Percussion
The I-Threes (Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths) - Background Vocals
Bob Marley Link (176Mb) New Link 29/11/2013