Introduction to Bob Marley

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by A Saucerful of Scarlets, Feb 4, 2018.

  1. A Saucerful of Scarlets

    A Saucerful of Scarlets Commenter Turned Viewer Thread Starter

    Just heard ‘400 Years’ and loved it so much based off that alone I want to get into him. I’m a bit confused though. I’m a completionist so I want to hear everything, and I see things mentioned like ‘Island’ and stuff from 1967 that I don’t have so can anyone explain all the main stuff? There’s an overwhelming amount of content. I have access to everything through Apple Music.
  2. DJ LX

    DJ LX Forum Resident

    Madison WI
    If nothing else, I'd recommend Bob Marley & the Wailers Live! Nice song selection and terrific vibe.

  3. JRM

    JRM Forum Resident

    Mile High City
    All of the Island/Tuff Gong albums are stellar. Tough for me to pick a favorite, but Catch A Fire, Exodus, Kaya and Uprising are all at the top.

    Catch A Fire 1971
    Burnin’ 1972
    Natty Dread 1973
    Live! 1975
    Rastaman Vibration 1976
    Exodus 1977
    Kaya 1978
    Babylon By Bus (live) 1978
    Survival 1979
    Uprising 1980
    Confrontation (posthumous) 1983
  4. DetroitDoomsayer

    DetroitDoomsayer Forum Middle Child

    Detroit, Michigan
    This contains the cream of The Wailers STUDIO ONE ska sides from 1964-1966:
    Bob Marley And The Wailers* - One Love At Studio One

    These contain nearly all of the Wail'n Soul'm label / Beverly's label / Upsetters label singles sides from 1967-1971 (Rocksteady and early Reggae periods):
    Bob Marley And The Wailers* - Fy-Ah, Fy-Ah (The JAD Masters 1967-1970)
    Bob Marley And The Wailers* - Man To Man
    Bob Marley And The Wailers* - Grooving Kingston 12

    all that's left after this is the Island/Tuff Gong years of 1972-1981
    Catch A Fire / Burnin' / Natty Dread / Live! / Rastaman Vibration / Exodus / Kaya / Babylon By Bus (Live) / Survival / Uprising and a posthumous comp Confrontation

    There's Plenty more than this, but this stuff is probably the "core" catalog.

    I'm not going to comment on sound quality, I'll let others do that, but this is the easiest way to check out the meat of Bob and the Wailers catalog
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2018
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  5. ChrisR2060

    ChrisR2060 Well-Known Member

    Charlotte, NC
    I was 7 when I first heard Bob Marley... when "Jammin" and "Punky Reggae Party" were playing on the radios.
    Since then, I have always loved the reggae groove... some of my favorite are "african herbsman", "Pimper's paradise", and, from his son steven "break us apart", his other son Ziggy "beach in Hawaii"...
    Steel Pulse "your house", Third world "96o in the shade".
    So many more... the Wailers were IT.
  6. vamborules

    vamborules Forum Resident

    Trying to get everything can drive you insane but getting into his stuff is easy because everything is good. There are really no 'must avoid' albums. You like 400 Yeas so start with Catch a Fire. The version on there is not the first one but it's likely the one you heard. But even if it's not you won't be sorry you got Catch a Fire. Then get Burnin' or Natty Dread...or really whatever. It's all good.
  7. JRM

    JRM Forum Resident

    Mile High City
    Catch A Fire and Burnin’ are both albums by The Wailers, when Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer were still with Bob. Natty Dread was the first album credited to Bob Marley and the Wailers, and the first album featuring the I-Threes, a female vocal trio consisting of Marcia Griffiths, Judy Mowatt, and Bob's wife, Rita Marley.

    A couple cool videos from the Tosh years...

  8. alchemy

    alchemy Forum Resident

    Sterling, VA
    I like the Lee 'Scratch' Perry period.
  9. JRM

    JRM Forum Resident

    Mile High City
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  10. davmar77

    davmar77 I'd rather be drummin'...

    clifton park,ny
    In the mid 70s when Marley really started getting known and some big names were covering his songs, he announced some dates at the beacon theater in NYC. We thought it might be worth checking out. I hadn't heard much of his own music so I wasn't prepared for what i saw that night. We had scored 2nd row tickets and it was a real revelation. That was spring of 1976.
  11. onionmaster

    onionmaster Tropical new waver from the future

    I would start with the Songs Of Freedom box without a doubt. Then work your way to the Wail n Soul M Singles Selecta, The Best Of The Wailers (Beverleys), Soul Rebels, & Soul Revolution Part II, all of which have cheap JAD CDs available.

    Regards "400 Years", it was actually written and sung by one of The Wailers' other members, Peter Tosh - first on the Wailers' album Soul Rebels, & rearranged for Catch A Fire. Tosh was one of their three vocalists/songwriters along with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer and often guitarist too.

    I wrote a really detailed piece in an old thread, I'll reprint it:

    "The Wailers discography is a real mess. I'll try to explain via timeline.

    - Prior to the Island years, The Wailers put out over 100 singles and B-Sides, and three dedicated albums that weren't compilations - these being The Best Of The Wailers (Beverleys), Soul Rebels (Upsetter) and Soul Revolution Part II. Lee Scratch Perry also put out a dub version of Soul Revolution, which is often counted as a Wailers album even though they had no input in it. Any album released on Studio One is a compilation, and yes that includes The Wailing Wailers album. Any of Trojan's albums are compilations too - yes, that includes African Herbsman.

    1962 - Bob Marley put out two solo singles this year for Beverleys records. The first was Judge Not / Do You Still Love Me?, released under the name Robert Marley. The second was One Cup Of Coffee, released under the name Bobby Martell, backed with a track not by Bob. The Wailers hadn't formed by this point, although Bob, Bunny and Peter were already friends. Neither single went anywhere and were quite rare for years.

    Judge Not and One Cup Of Coffee were included on CD on Songs Of Freedom and deliberately kept exclusive. Do You Still Love Me hasn't appeared on CD, but is widely available and there is a very high quality rip going around, suggesting it was going to be on CD at one point and then omitted.

    1963 - 1966 - The Wailers began their career at Studio One

    - Many singles were recorded for Coxsone. Despite a few compilations in the 60s and 70s, the Studio One era Wailers never made any albums. The original five piece Wailers had Junior Braithwaite and Beverley Kelso as backing vocalists and taking lead on some songs, they later left. In 1966 Bob Marley left to work in the US for a few months, and was replaced on harmonies by Constantine "Vision" Walker, who never sung lead nor wrote anything. This was the point where Peter and Bunny wrote and performed their own songs. Bob came back a few months later.

    Heartbeat Records have done a good job of collecting up the copious amounts of Studio One material across several volumes. There are a few alternates not included amongst their sets (notably the single version of I'm Still Waiting which is on Songs Of Freedom, plus the single versions of Playboy and Hooligan), and some tracks only used overdubbed versions (such as Hoot Nanny Hoot) because the master tapes couldn't be found.

    1967- Early 1968 - Wail N Soul M' Material
    - In late 1966 The Wailers recorded the first Wail N Soul M single, Bend Down Low / Freedom Time, which was in the new rock steady style. This was recorded for Coxsone, but due to a disagreement with him over pay, they set up their own label, Wail N Soul M and released it on that. Rita Marley was considered a main member of the band at this point. The records were produced and sold at the record store which the Wailers owned. Joe Higgs helped the band record more singles, also released on the label, and they kept the master tapes, meaning that they reissued some of them on Tuff Gong.

    The best collection of this stuff is Wail N Soul M' Singles Selecta, which is virtually complete, sounds good, and is like an album in its own right.

    Late 1968
    - There were demos for an unreleased JAD album, which were recorded by Johnny Nash in 1968, who wanted to break the band into the pop-reggae market. The lack of Bunny Wailer (who was in prison), was likely the reason this album wasn't released, though it's also because wasn't really in their style. The master tapes for this are seen in one of the Universal sets, titled "Morely". The tracks were mostly not really overdubbed at the time, but some were later remixed in the 80s. Most of the tracks have been released and basically make up the Rock To The Rock collection or one of the Fy-Ah Fy-Ah discs, plus a few other tracks. The tracks that were not on Rock To The Rock were omitted because the original mixes couldn't be found - the Complete Wailers set, Universal sets use the 80s remixes of those. One of the tracks, Rhapsody has only been released once, in a remixed version on the Complete Wailers volume Freedom Time.

    Selassie Is The Chapel and A Little Prayer were also recorded this year with Mortimer Planno, and pressed on blank. This single was considered to be the holy grail for a while, but no longer is (that holy grail is a track called Lick It Back). Incidentally, it is a nyahbinghi cover of Crying In The Chapel by Elvis Presley. Selassie Is The Chapel can be found on the Complete Wailers 2: Selassie Is The Chapel disc or one of the Universal Box Sets.

    1969- mid 1970

    - Earlier in the year, there were a number of self-released blank singles which are considered Wail N Soul M' singles (these include Feel Alright, Trouble On The Road Again, Rhythm, Hammer, Comma Comma and Tread Oh (aka Tread Along) ) Some of these are erroneously given as being done in 1970 or 1971.

    Later The Wailers cut various singles (such as Sugar Sugar, Mr Chatterbox, Hold Onto This Feeling, Give Me A Ticket, Black Progress, What Goes Around Comes Around and others) for labels such as Randy's, and did a four track session for Ted Pouder which resulted in the single Adam And Eve/Wisdom, plus two session outtakes This Train and Thank You Lord. All of these appeared on Selassie Is The Chapel. On the Universal box, the compilers used the 1967 version of This Train by accident. Conversely, my copy of the Complete Wailers set doesn't have the Peter Tosh sung Give Me A Ticket, it includes the Rita sung version twice in error.

    In 1970, the band recorded their album The Best Of The Wailers on Beverleys. I am positive that Pour Down The Sunshine was recorded around the same time using the same musicians. The album has been released on CD by Jet Set, Trojan (as part of the Soul Revolutionaries set) and JAD (who added a couple of bonus tracks). The tracks can be found amongst various other compilations too.

    Late 1970-1971
    In late 1970, the band started working with Lee Scratch Perry and put out various singles (such as Duppy Conqueror, Man To Man, Dreamland, Brand New Second Hand, All In One, and others), as well as the album Soul Rebel.

    Soul Rebel was the first of Bob's albums to be released by Trojan in the UK, thus CDs can be found on that label too. For a standalone version of the album, the Trojan reissue with bonus tracks is good and sounds good, though you can get all the tracks on the boxes.

    Also this year, the band renamed Wail N Soul 'M to Tuff Gong. The first song released on the label was Sun Is Shining backed with Run For Cover. Lee Perry put out Sun Is Shining on the next year's Soul Revolution Part II, just to confuse matters (there isn't a part 1)

    Soul Revolution Part II was released in 1971, some of the tracks were Soul Rebel outtakes, some were previously unreleased singles, and there were a number of tracks which hadn't been released before either. The version of Duppy Conqueror was one of Perry's dub mixes where he cut out half the vocals - so you need to get the single version elsewhere. The JAD CD presents the tracks in their original form. There was a dub version of this album which has been released as Upsetter Revolution Rhythm. There was a split stereo version of the album put out by Trojan back in the 80s. The album was rushed out by Lee Perry for drug money, and thus the picture used was a dated one of the band in 1969. The album was issued originally on Upsetter and later licensed to Maroon.

    Trojan declined to put out Soul Revolution Part II originally but after The Wailers hit it big with Catch A Fire and Burnin', they put out a compilation of the tracks, plus a few single tracks, and some Tuff Gong singles, and called it African Herbsman. In the 80s they released the original Soul Revolution, but added a couple of tracks to it

    Late 1971-1972

    Bob fell out with Lee Perry after putting out the albums without his permission. He saw Soul Rebels in a store when vacationing in London - he hadn't authorised the release and didn't like the cover (which features a scantily clad woman with a gun in a forest).

    The Wailers quickly started recording stuff again by themselves, using their band based around Aston and Carlton Barrett to back the recordings. The band put out many Tuff Gong singles in 1971, such as Trenchtown Rock, Lively Up Yourself, Screwface, Craven Choke Puppy, Lick Samba, Guava Jelly, Redder Than Red, Satisfy My Soul Jah Jah, you get the idea. In my opinion these were the peak of the band's entire career, being well written, but still rootsy and feelgood, and harmonically impressive. Many of these are on Songs Of Freedom and others are on Complete Wailers. All are on the Universal Boxes, but like I've mentioned before, the Complete Wailers and Songs Of Freedom sound better.

    In late 1971 and early 1972 Bob recorded a few solo tracks with Johnny Nash. These were Reggae On Broadway, Oh Lord Got To Get There, Dance Do The Reggae and I'm Hurting Inside. The first two were put out as a CBS single, and the latter two stayed in the vaults for a few years. They were unearthed, along with the 1968 demoes Stay With Me and Gonna Get You, newly overdubbed, and remixed in 1981 for the blatant cash-in album Chances Are (which was a huge seller). The orignal mixes were released later and can be found on Complete Wailers and Songs Of Freedom. Bob also did his Acoustic Medley that is on Songs Of Freedom around this time.

    - Keep On Skanking and Turn Me Loose are 1974 vocals that Bob did when he made amends with Lee Perry. Keep On Skanking uses a modified version of Perry's production Doctor Demand by Leo Graham as it's backing. Turn Me Loose uses the Perry version of The Wailers' Kaya, with some percussion overdubs.

    - Natural Mystic and Rainbow Country are from 1975, but Bob only did the track to drum machine. The music was overdubbed by Perry later. Both were thought of as demos, as is evidenced by him reusing some of the Rainbow Country lyrics in Roots Rock Reggae, and rerecording Natural Mystic for Exodus.

    - High Tide Or Low Tide is on the Universal Box but is still the same Catch A Fire outtake. It was included because it was copied over from Songs Of Freedom, you can tell because it's the same edited version.

    - Mellow Skank on the Universal box is not The Wailers, it's an instrumental version of Talk Of The Town by Glen Adams, but it does feature several members of their backing band. Talk Of The Town can be easily found on the Trojan Bob Marley And Friends box but doesn't to my knowledge feature Bob, Peter or Bunny, which is somewhat confusing.

    - The Complete Wailers sets sound much better than the Universal ones, since the Universal ones are often bright and compressed. The Trojan releases of certain material are perfectly good but they didn't put out everything. The Trojan release of Soul Rebels with bonus tracks is probably the best version.

    - The Universal boxes do have some tracks that aren't on the Complete Wailers sets, but they were either on Songs Of Freedom, previously bootlegged, or they are inessential DJ versions. The thing about the box set that is very annoying is that the albums or even chronological tracks are often placed in random order or even split amongst discs.

    - The Complete Wailers have a few alternates that aren't on the box sets, and include the Ted Pouder version of This Train which is more gospelly and sung by Bob, and the Rita Marley track Rhapsody (albeit in a stripped down mix) that are not on the boxes. You need Songs Of Freedom anyway if you want Judge Not, One Cup Of Coffee, and the best version of I'm Still Waiting amongst others. I'd take Wail N Soul M Singles Selecta over Freedom Time though, even though the latter has Rhapsody, simply because Wail N Soul M Singles Selecta is virtually complete.

    For the TL-DR version, you need:

    Songs Of Freedom (Judge Not, One Cup Of Coffee, and a lot of other stuff)
    One Love At Studio One (2006 version - on the earlier versions, there are a few tracks that have overdubs, and the track Tell Them Lord isn't included)
    Destiny: Rare Ska Sides For Studio One
    Climb The Ladder
    Another Dance: Rarities From Studio One
    Wail N Soul M Singles Selecta (purely because of how well it compiles the stuff).
    Complete Wailers Vol 1-11 (along with Songs Of Freedom, this covers the three albums plus tons of non-album singles and alternates. The last volume, Lonesome Feeling, is vinyl only collection of alternates, all of which can be found on the Universal sets too).
    Why Should I and Pass It On (both 1971) and their respective versions (though these were on the Universal boxes, they were bootleg sourced and the bootlegs are slightly less compressed)
    The instrumentals and DJ versions on the Universal Boxes (don't bother buying, just download them, every other Wailers fan has)"
  12. southamorican

    southamorican Forum Resident

    São Paulo
    I recommend starting with the 4-CD box set Songs of Freedom, which is a great overview of his whole career.

  13. curbach

    curbach Some guy on the internet

    The ATX
    "400 Years" is actually Peter Tosh, so maybe you want to hear all of his work instead of or in addition to Marley's.
  14. head_unit

    head_unit Forum Resident

    Los Angeles CA USA
    There IS an overwhelming amount of stuff, and not actually ALL available there. But close enough. Since you're streaming, I recommend just going in chronological order bit by bit. An amazing thing about Bob Marley is all his stuff is pretty good, at least for me.
    ianuaditis likes this.
  15. JRM

    JRM Forum Resident

    Mile High City

  16. Beware! Bob Marley is a gateway drug!
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  17. andrewskyDE

    andrewskyDE Island Owner

    Zack Island
    There's this soundtrack album Marley which contains 'Judge Not' as well.

  18. ianuaditis

    ianuaditis Evil Twin

    I'm not 100% certain that those are lip syncing, (I don't recall 'it's our business to stir it up' being on the Catch a Fire version,) but you can definitely hear the guitar overdubs by Wayne Perkins. If you follow Tosh's fingers, he is not playing the solo that you hear there.
    Yes, for Tosh "Equal Rights" and "Legalize It" are both good places to start.

    Also, Bunny Wailer's 'Blackheart Man' is a classic.

    All three of those records use a lot of the same musicians as Marley. (and IIRC Marley sings backup on Blackheart Man and maybe one of the Tosh records too.)
    fallbreaks likes this.
  19. jneilnyc

    jneilnyc Free Range Responder

    New York
  20. onionmaster

    onionmaster Tropical new waver from the future

    Yeah, but that's quite a disjointed compilation for a beginner. Songs Of Freedom gives a good chunk of the discography in one go.
    andrewskyDE likes this.
  21. slane

    slane Forum Resident

    Live vocals over pre-recorded backing.
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  22. A Saucerful of Scarlets

    A Saucerful of Scarlets Commenter Turned Viewer Thread Starter

    Thanks everyone. Some really, really useful information here. Cleared up a lot. I've listened to Catch a Fire. Decent album but I do find it a bit repetitive admittedly. I've heard some songs 2-3 times now and 400 Years is still my favourite track by far. Maybe I'll give a Peter Tosh album a listen as well. Good stuff, though. Very relaxing with great melodies and lyrics. Am looking forward to hearing more!
  23. Purple Jim

    Purple Jim Forum Resident

    Little Britain
    I'd recommend starting with the Island series of albums, beginning with the terrific Catch A Fire. My favourites:
    - Live! 1975
    - Rastaman Vibration 1976
    - Exodus 1977
    ...but they're all great. Love the Lee Perry period also.
    As curbach said, check out Peter Tosh and especially Bunny Wailer's albums: Blackheart Man, Protest and my favourite Rock 'n' Groove.
    bluejimbop likes this.
  24. Scope J

    Scope J Forum Resident

    Must haves!!!

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  25. buzzlulu

    buzzlulu Forum Resident

    Peter Tosh - 5***** LEGENDARY

    I frequently play Equal Rights for my high end two channel audio dealer friend and he is always blown away by it. Recorded with Rolling Stones Mobile Audio unit.

    Downpressor Man and Stepping Razor from Equal Rights
    Bush Doctor from Bush Doctor album

    Downpressor Man is amongst the DEEPEST heaviest Roots you will find. I equate it's power to Yabby You's Conquering Lion track

    Saw Peter 3 times with Word Sound & Power

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