Bob Marley before Bob Marley: forgotten and rediscovered masterpieces

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In Very Good Trip, the second part of our series, where we will discover the first summits of Bob Marley. Sometimes little-known masterpieces, recorded when hardly anyone knew him outside Jamaica. Back when, so to speak, Bob Marley was not yet Bob Marley.

For many of us, Bob Marley’s story didn’t begin until a few years later, in the first half of the seventies, in London, England. When the founder of a very famous record company, at the forefront of the musical avant-garde – she had made known the groups King Crimson and Jethro Tull in particular -, and which was called Island, like an island, decided to launch the Wailers.

His name was Chris Blackwell, he was white and he introduced them as, I quote, black Rolling Stones. It was for the avowed purpose of seducing white, Western audiences. Blackwell came from a very wealthy family established in Kingston, the island’s capital, where he had grown up, hence the name of his company.

He had long been looking for a way to bring this Jamaican music he adored to the world. And which was then characterized by a new rhythm, as unbalanced, accentuating the setbacks, and which could confuse at the first listening: reggae. And he was looking, he was looking, without finding.

Until the day Bob Marley walked into his office. And there, to quote him, he had: like a vision.

No doubt it was him, Bob Marley, who would become a world star and open the door to others. And Blackwell was right. Better, he was a visionary. Because, let’s put it like it is, very few professionals believed it. And even less the interested parties.

Marley and his comrades had come to a point where they hoped no longer: too many failures, too many problems, too many dashed hopes.

Bob Marley, his cousin Bunny Livingston and Peter Tosh, the vocal trio of the Wailers, had been singing together since their teens. They had been Jamaica’s most popular band in the sixties. They had covered, adapted, then composed and recorded dozens, what am I saying, hundreds of songs released on 45 rpm. Many of their records had been hits, their concerts had drawn crowds, and they had not benefited from them.

They had been exploited, swindled, ransomed, even, everything had gone wrong for them and they no longer believed it. Yes, for two years the Wailers had done tube after tube in Jamaica and they had, according to their testimony, not collected a dime.

Playlist

The Wailers :
“Simmer Down” from the album Various artists “Studio One Classics”
« Mellow Mood » extrait de l’album « All the Hits 1 »

Bob Marley & the Wailers :
« Rock to the Rock » album « The Complete Wailers 1967 to 1972 – Part 1 »
« Bend Down Low (alternate) » extrait de l’album « The Complete Wailers 1967 to 1972 – Part 1 »
« Chances Are (alternate) » extrait de l’album « The Complete Wailers 1967 to 1972 – Part 1 »
« My Cup » extrait de l’album « Small Axe – The UK Upsetter Recordings, 1970 to 1972 »
« Corner Stone » extrait de l’album « Small Axe – The UK Upsetter Recordings, 1970 to 1972 »
« Duppy Conqueror » extrait de l’album « Small Axe – The UK Upsetter Recordings, 1970 to 1972 »
« Sun Is Shining » extrait de l’album « African Herbsman »
« Put It On (alternate) » extrait de l’album « The Complete Wailers 1967 to 1972 – Part 1 »
« Black Progress (Medley) » extrait de l’album « The Complete Wailers 1967 to 1972 – Part 1 »
« Selassie Is the Chapel » extrait de l’album « The Complete Wailers 1967 to 1972 – Part 1 »

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