Containing Multitudes Since 2004
Say what you want about the songwriting, charisma, politics, whatever, he was one of the finest vocalists EVER.
I think he owes Chris Blackwell bigtime. Bob Marley wasn't even the best vocalist in Kingston. Delroy Wilson, Leroy Sibbles, Pat Kelly, Grgeory Isaacs could all claim to be Marley's superior. Anybody see the Island Records tribute on BBC4 the other week? Fascinating stuff in it about Chris Blackwell's friendship with and understanding of Bob Marley. For good and ill Blackwell moulded the Wailers (or Bob Marley and The Wailers as they became) to fit a rock template. Out with group harmonies, in with guitar solos, bingo international success.
Bunny Wailer of the original Wailers line-up,is the only one that impressed me as Bob Marley and Peter Tosh became more commercial
Marley was a mega genius. The problem is that for so many people all over the world, the entire musical output of Jamaica (easily one of the most musically fecund places on the planet) is substituted by "Legend." It is my opinion that this view from the masses invites musical snobbery from many true fans of Jamaican music. Big up Toots, Delroy, Gregory, Ken Boothe, and all the rest...
I can see how what I've said could sound a bit snobbish but I do think the 70s Marley was manufactured. There's no doubt he was, from the earliest days at Studio 1, one of the premier talents on the island but he wasn't some transcendent genius unrelated to everything else. They tried the same trick with Denis Brown later but it didn't take. Spot on about Ken Boothe by the way.
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