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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Bob Marley

Exodus- 30th Anniversary Limited Edition CD/DVD Set

Review by Gary Hill

For the 30th Anniversary of Bob Marley’s Exodus disc, they have re-issued it in this killer format. We get the full CD in all its glory – and this is a one great album. Truly, I don’t think I’ve ever heard a Marley song I didn’t like, but this one shines as an album a bit higher than some of the rest of the discs. The disc by itself is great, but we also get the Rainbow concert DVD included in this set. It’s a killer live show from Marley and company captured in some of the better filmography of the time. It still holds up quite well both as entertainment and a testament to Marley and company’s great talents. The thing is, the whole set is assembled in a book like case that has pages of pics and information. This is a class act and recommended to all fans of Marley – and those who have been putting off picking up anything by this powerhouse, influential artist. It’s reggae at its best in terms of music and presentation.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 1 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Natural Mystic
This is mid-paced with a bouncing sort of reggae sound and poignant lyrics. We get some great musical performances here and Marley’s vocals do a great job of capturing the mood of the piece. It’s stunning opener.
So Much Things To Say
 Faster and feeling more playful, this has almost a Stevie Wonder-soul feel to it at times. Female vocals back up Marley and this number, while I’d say it’s not as strong as the first one, is another potent one.
Guiltiness
The soul textures that appeared on the last number are even more prevalent here, along with some definite jazz leanings. This is actually one of the strongest cuts on the disc. It’s got a slower approach and just plain powerful, both musically and in terms of vocal arrangement. This is Marley at his best.
The Heathen
From the funky, rock textured introduction it’s obvious that this is a different sound than what we’ve heard thus far. They move it back to more pure reggae, but that more rock oriented sound keeps showing up. There are some killer keyboard tones present here with a decidedly 1970’s bent. This might well be my favorite track on show here and it has some vintage hard rock guitar and is powerful and catchy.
Exodus
Combining reggae with jazz and funk, this is another powerhouse track and one of the two or three best numbers on show here. Marley puts in another scorching, poignant performance.  It moves almost into space rock later in the piece.
Jamming
Bouncy and tasty, this is a classic. On a different disc this would one of the stars, but following the last few tracks, it pales just a bit. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that there is a problem with this number – not at all! It’s actually very strong, but the pieces that preceded it are simply incredible, making this one feel a bit less.

Waiting In Vain
This is another that suffers from the high quality of the rest of the material here. This one is a strong mid-tempo cut that’s got a great texture. It just feels a bit pedestrian compared to some of the other music that’s contained on this disc.

Turn Your Lights Down
This one has a less reggae texture to it, feeling like a bluesy, slow mellow rock song. This is killer grind and another highlight of the disc.
Three Little Birds
Those who saw the recent Will Smith film I Am Legend will probably remember this song, as it was basically the only music in that whole movie. This has a cheery message similar to Bobby McFerrin’s “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.” It’s a bouncy piece that’s another strong one. While I wouldn’t quite put it on the level of one of the highlights, it doesn’t miss it by far.
One Love/People Get Ready
This is a cool medley of two numbers. The first portion has an almost gospel approach to it. Of course, that’s delivered with a trademark Marley approach. The motif doesn’t really change too much throughout the two portions of the track as Marley seems to more merge the two pieces into one theme rather than simply putting them together like puzzle pieces. This is a good, if perhaps a bit anti-climactic, close to the disc.
 
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