Friday, 1 June 2018
Bob Marley & The Wailers - Exodus (1977)
Released June 1977
Recorded at Harry J's, Kingston, Jamaica
This was Bob Marley’s big one - his “Thriller”, “Born In The USA” and “Brothers In Arms” - the one that made him a massive chart and album selling act and saw this album being bought by all sorts of people, not just reggae fans. Marley was now “mainstream”, which was a bit of a shame in some ways. Like those other albums, I find I don’t listen to it as much as I do Marley’s earlier output, or indeed the ones he released after this. The album is packed full of hits, though - the potent, melodic “Jamming”, the rumbling, rootsy, “Exodus”, the inspirational “One Love”, the catchy “Three Little Birds” and the laid back smooch of “Waiting In Vain”. It is the more “roots” cuts that I prefer, however - “The Heathen”, “Guiltiness”, “So Much Things To Say” and the intoxicating “Natural Mystic”. “Turn Your Lights Down Low” is a beautiful love song too, and is rarely mentioned when people assess this album. In many ways, it is the best track on it.
“Exodus 40” sees Ziggy Marley remixing his father’s album and coming up with an enjoyable listen. The title track is shortened but made a slightly punchier, funkier creation, while “Natural Mystic” and “The Heathen” have some new guitar parts added to great effect, particularly on the latter. “Guiltiness” has a crisp, cymbal-dominated percussion mix. “Jamming” sounds more rootsy, heavier, less commercial, but obviously it will always retain its catchy refrain. Some great new guitar skanking at the end too. In many ways, a lot of the guitar parts added to the tracks on this remix are similar in feeling and sound to those dubbed on to the “Catch A Fire” recordings back in 1973.“Turn Your Lights Down Low” and “Waiting In Vain” have actually been substantially remixed, using new musicians, apparently. The former is almost radio-friendly country soul-like in its new incarnation. The latter is given an almost funkier feel. Interesting interpretations both.