Bob Marley

Bob Marley


Tuff Gong / Island

I hate to drag my kids into reviews, but I’ll do it in the interest of keeping this to the point. I’ve been playing this in the car a lot, and they’ve been riding in the back a few times while it’s on.

Last night, I asked our five-year-old to stand up, to which she responded “Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights… Daddy, what are rights?”

It was sort of a dizzying moment, and probably the kind that ole Bob would have gotten a kick of. Marley (and this anthology of his work in particular) saw his share of top placement in “Best Music of the 20th Century” lists, and rightly so. Like American folk music, Marley’s reggae was instantly approachable, and recognizable even when stripped down to a single acoustic guitar, or even a solitary melody — classic material ripe for retelling. The spread of Marley’s music has as much, if not more, to do with people singing his songs around a campfire as it does with radio airplay and album sales, and it’s not every artist that can claim that.

But behind the usually bouncy and easy to learn melodies, Marley’s voice was an intense experience, whether seducing, declaring love, or demanding freedom. In counterpoint to the simple singalong nature of the music, there was always a message of substance, and his uncompromising stand for what he believed in remains influential across every act professing to have a social conscience.

Legend is mostly indistinguishable in content to another Marley anthology released about a year ago. The remastering, though I’m sure is very nice, is about as relevant as leveling a slightly tilted Van Gogh — the fire of this music is enough to consume any technical limitations of the time. Where Legend truly shines is its liner notes, which while not quite box-set quality, do provide some background and full lyrics.

This is undoubtedly one of those albums that is required to make any serious music collection complete. Bob Marley’s message of peace, love and freedom — delivered with a dignity that still resonates twenty-five years later — is a must-hear. Admittedly, Legend is the pop Marley, and true fans of his body of work will quickly point out that in many ways, it’s hardly representative. Still, its power is undeniable, and it’s one of the few records I can call unquestionably essential.

Bob Marley:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Halloween Nuggets

    Halloween Nuggets (Liberation Hall). Review by Charles D.J. Deppner.

  • RoboCop Steelbook
    RoboCop Steelbook

    Computerized police work in 1987? What could possibly go wrong? Carl F. Gauze reviews.

  • Memoria

    Winner of the Jury Prize of the 2021 Cannes Film Festival, Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s Memoria subtly draws viewers into a connective reality shaped by the sounds and images emerging from the unknown. Lily and Generoso share their thoughts on the film, currently touring North America.

  • Say Goodnight, Gracie
    Say Goodnight, Gracie

    Lose a job? Eh, there’s always another one. Review by Carl F. Gauze.

  • New Music Now 007: crêpe girl
    New Music Now 007: crêpe girl

    Episode 007 features new music by Jack White, Snail Mail, and crêpe girl, and 2 sweet Yoko Ono covers from Stephin Merritt and Deerhoof. Stick around for joy!

  • Hot Water Music
    Hot Water Music

    Feel The Void (Equal Vision Records). Review by Charles D.J. Deppner.

  • Watcher

    Chloe Okuna’s new thriller Watcher is an immersive journey into fear. Review by Phil Bailey.

  • From Here
    From Here

    A mass shooting changes the world, but not the people in it.

  • True West
    True West

    Two brothers attempt to get into movies without killing each other. It’s a close call.

  • In The Heights
    In The Heights

    A lottery ticket and a blackout shift a man’s life in the New York Hispanic community.

From the Archives