As a sixth album released at the end of an era in which the original band maintained good spirits, The Wailers, fronted by Bob Marley but yet to carry his iconic name, still contained their forming members Pete Tosh and Bunny Wailer. This was the last time they'd make a Wailers album together, as Tosh and Wailer decided to embark on solo careers soon after. Get Up Stand Up opens the album with what is now considered a classic and memorable track, the motivational lines forming the inner vocabularies of many generations since its writing. There are times we all need to stand up for our rights, or for what is right, and I think this song has been the foundation stone that has built many towers.
Hallelujah Time takes the lesser talked about but equally significant religious twist that grants that ethereal quality The Wailers seem to have, even today, the sound and images of Bob seem to kindle spiritual connotations with many fans. It reminds us that this music is written with bigger things in mind than a passion for groove or a desire to make a living. There was something higher going on with the work of this band, or at least they wanted to believe it. Years from that time, and a legacy to rival most from the era, they at least managed to keep a fire alight long since the spark had faded.
I Shot The Sheriff brings the mood into that party feel that reggae loves to bounce around to, and again with the classic and well known song, the album makes its mark on the room with hooks and sing-a-long sections that warm up parties and rest time in unison. The history of the Jamaican culture is brought into verse with Burning and Looting, and minor keys to the vocal melody with sombre tempos bring home tales of past times where people were angry, poor, and disillusioned. A lot of people were let down after extremely poor treatment and it took many generations to heal the scars left behind by slavery and oppression.
Track by track the wisdom of well travelled and peaceful minds from tough neighbourhoods bring their perspectives on life, and the smooth rhythms of reggae allow meaningful songs to work their way into our auditory zones and gently feed themselves in spoon-fulls of charming and melodic pieces. It's when we take time to listen to the actions of the keyboard, drum, and guitar in harmony with one another, and stop focussing on the words themselves, that the real credit becomes apparent. The little fills and tinkling chimes all work together to form delightful works of moving music, and although the famous and loved voice makes everything sound like The Wailers, the band need to be listened to as well.
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