Friday, 1 June 2018
Bob Marley & The Wailers - Live! (1975)
Released December 1975
Recorded live at The Lyceum, London
Like “Catch A Fire” in 1973, this album was one that brought Bob Marley’s music to the attention of the “rock” mainstream. Everybody seemed to accept that it was a quality album, whether they liked reggae or not.
I like the album, but I always felt it was a few tracks short and that it concentrated on “message” songs - “Burnin’ And Lootin”, “Lively Up Yourself”, “I Shot The Sheriff”, “Them Belly Full” and the rousing “Get Up, Stand Up” - to the possible omission of some of Marley’s excellent, rocksteady-style romantic groovers, such as “Stop That Train”, the wonderful “Stir It Up” and “Put It On” all of which appears on 1973’s truly excellent “Live At Leeds University”. That is the finer Bob Marley & The Wailers live product, in my opinion, being a full concert set, as opposed the eight tracks we get here (only seven on the original release).
That said, this is an immaculately played, totally atmospheric live album, with the Wailers on top form, instrumentally. Just listen to the feedback from the crowd on the intro, the upbeat, pulsating “Trenchtown Rock”. It makes you wish you had been there at London’s Lyceum. Add to that the audible excitement that swells up from the crowd as the first organ bars of “No Woman No Cry” are played. One of the great moments in music.
Of course, the live performance here of “No Woman No Cry” has gone down in history as the definitive rendering of the song. It will never be bettered. It is the version everyone knows, as opposed to the comparatively thin and reedy studio original from 1974’s “Natty Dread” album. The bonus track now available on most formats of the album, “Kinky Reggae” is a great version too, extended to include the band introductions.