I bought this CD back in the day because my wife wanted to listen to “Is This Love” from Bob Marley and although I was looking for a studio recording, the record shop only had this live album of songs recorded in Europe.
Such a large difference to how music was acquired once upon a time.
And my wife listened to just that song a few times and then moved on, because that is what the casual fan does. They get their fix and move on. They are fans of songs, not artists.
But for me, the album came in my life at a time when I was in a rut musically and sinking my teeth into Marley’s Reggae was the perfect antidote. And the lyrics about life, injustice, racism and society brought back memories of the lyrics I liked from the 80’s artists.
And I knew of Bob Marley from the covers that other artists did of his songs, like Eric Clapton’s take on “I Shot The Sherriff”.
“Exodus” is a great song. Musically it’s a funky like reggae feel, but the lyrics.
Open your eyes and look within:
Are you satisfied (with the life you’re living)?
Truth in such a simple statement.
We have so much control of our lives, but we need to be brave to seize it. And Marley sings about letting equality rule and breaking down oppression. There is hope and belief in his voice that it is possible.
And that section when the drummer just plays a stock beat and the crowd claps along, it’s simple but powerful.
“Stir It Up” is laid back and powerful at the same time.
“Rat Race” has an intro that sounds so bluesy with a distorted tone adapted from The Spinners 1974 track “Since I Been Gone” .
The song is about how the U.S treated Jamaica and the low wages they paid and the lands they took in the name of capitalism.
When you think it’s peace and safety
A sudden destruction
Collective security for surety, yeah!
Don’t forget your history
Know your destiny
Oh, it’s a disgrace
To see the human race
In a rat race, yeah
“Concrete Jungle” is one of my favourites. The groove laid down is perfect for Marley to sing about how suburbia changed from houses on the street to concrete jungles where the sun doesn’t shine and there is no difference between day and night because of the shade and darkness, that concrete jungles create.
“Is This Love” is basically a blues song. If you don’t believe me, play that riff with distortion and you’ll hear the pentatonic notes of the blues scale.
And I don’t have any other Bob Marley tunes, but via streaming, I have heard em. Also, Marley is another artist that has been ripped off by the labels in the name of copyright.
Remember, Copyright was put into law to help the creator have a monopoly on their works for a limited time, so they have an incentive to create more works.
And on death, the creations should have become part of the public domain.
Marley died of cancer in 1981 and by then Copyright Law had been hijacked by the corporations. So it was death plus 70 years.
Universal Music Group (UMG) still owns the rights to his five albums recorded between 1973 and 1977. And UMG is still exploiting his works and getting paid. It looks Copyright was meant for the corporations to rip off artists.
The family tried to seize control of Marley’s works but UMG argued that the albums were created under a works for hire agreement which the judge believed. And it’s this same argument that the labels are using for artists who want to terminate their copyrights after 30 years. The battle continues for these other artists.
And the song “Rat Race” just came to mind.