To celebrate Bob Marley’s Earthstrong today, we took a cue from our bredren over at LargeUP and decided to delve deep into Marley’s catalog to pull out some dusty gems. The following tracks we felt don’t get the credit they probably should. So we’ve turned to spotlight on them to give them a proper showing.
“My Cup” – Soul Rebels
From the Lee Perry produced Soul Rebels LP, the reverb-heavy “My Cup” firmly plants it’s feet in both the soulful rock-steady beginnings of the Wailers and hints at the impending reggae movement taking over Jamaica at the time. With the ghostly harmonies of Bunny and Peter hovering in the background, the track spotlights a Bob Marley who has just found his voice and is tearing into your heart with it.
“Talkin’ Blues” – Natty Dread
Originally appearing on the hit-heavy Natty Dread full-length, “Talkin’ Blues” is buried deep into the second-half of the album. The Aston Barrett composed heart-breaker is a down-and-out tale where Marley’s powerful vocal delivery brings home the story of someone who has hit rock bottom but still has hope in that way that only Marley could pull off.
“Cry to Me” – Rastaman Vibration (*Note: Could only find acoustic version online)
Marley’s music became increasingly religious and political as his career went on but he still sang tales of love and heartbreak better than anyone. And really, how was “Cry to Me” not the single to this record? Re-recorded here, the vocal interplay between Marley and the I Threes, along with the unique percussion and upbeat but dense production, is Marley and company at their best… even if its a little less serious.
“Zion Train” – Uprising
Working within the often used Rastafarian thematic device of a “train” to free the oppressed, Marley and the Wailers makes it sound fresh and inspiring by drenching the track in wah-wah pedals and a forward moving reggae rhythm.
“Blackman Redemption” – Confrontation
The way Marley infused a perfect mixture of hope amid tales of oppression may be his most under-recognized trademark. “Blackman Redemption,” buried deep within his last full-length, exemplifies this along with the soulful pop sensibilities that have only become more influential since his untimely passing.