Wednesday, July 27, 2011

RASTAMAN VIBRATION - Bob Marley & the Wailers

YEAR: 1976

LABEL: Tuff Gong/Island

TRACK LISTING: Positive Vibration, Roots Rock Reggae, Johnny Was, Cry To Me, Want More, Crazy Baldhead, Who the Cap Fit, Night Shift, War, Rat Race

BONUS TRACKS: Jah Live, Concrete, Roots Rock Reggae (Unreleased Single Mix), Roots Rock Dub, Want More (Alternate Mix), Crazy Baldhead (Alternate Mix), War (Alternate Mix), Johnny Was (Alternate Mix). The "Deluxe Edition" also has a second disc which features a concert "Live at the Roxy 1976" featuring the following live tracks: Trenchtown Rock (Live), Burnin' & Lootin' (Live), Them Belly Full (But We Hungry) (Live), Rebel Music (3 O'Clock Roadblock) (Live), I Shot the Sheriff (Live), Want More (Live), No Woman No Cry (Live), Lively Up Yourself (Live), Roots Rock Reggae (Live), Rat Race (Live). The 2nd disc also features the single: Smile Jamaica Part One and Smile Jamaica Part Two.

IMPRESSIONS: This is probably my favourite Bob Marley album and I don't know exactly why. I really got into it in a big way about 10 years ago during the summer and the album will forevermore have a summertime association with me. Despite its success in America at the time, it seems to be one of Marley's lesser known albums but I think it hangs together as a cohesive statement and a musical work. My favourite song on the album is "Johnny Was" which tells the heartbreaking story of a woman whose son was shot down in the street by a stray bullet; the song encapsulates the struggle just staying alive in Jamaica was at the time. Marley himself grimly stated "Jamaica too vex, mon". This was, after all, the time when gunmen broke into a rehearsal studio and attempted to assassinate Bob Marley (while rehearsing for the "Smile Jamaica" concert). This album, I think, really codifies the political stance Marley would take for the rest of his life.

MY FAVOURITE TRACKS: Roots Rock Reggae, Johnny Was, Want More, Crazy Baldhead, Who the Cap Fit, Night Shift, War

GUEST ARTISTS: I-Three (Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths & Judy Mowatt) on background vocals

FACT SHEET: While it is difficult to judge these things, RASTAMAN VIBRATION is Bob Marley's 8th studio album. It is the first and only Bob Marley album to reach the Billboard charts peaking at number 8. "Roots, Rock, Reggae" is the only Bob Marley single to reach the Billboard Hot 100 chart peaking at number 51. The original album cover was textured like burlap; a liner note indicates "this album jacket is great for cleaning herb". Marley biographer Vivien Goldman identifies RASTAMAN VIBRATION as "...a Dread mission statement, (where) Marley effectively branded the concept of the dreadlocked revolutionary Rasta" and the album is "a highly effective calling card for the Rastafarian identity". The songs are not programmed in the usual way for "musical flow" but instead "...introduces key aspects of Rasta in a very specific, clearly structured way". The song "War" is actually a verbatim speech given by Hailie Selassie in 1968 which Marley set to music.


  1. I heard this album for the first time about two years back and I couldn't remember the name of it or the track that I particularly liked (Nightshift) Thanks Cerpts!

  2. Good song. That's a reference of course to Marley's stint in the US working overnight in Delaware. I wonder why he never drove over to see me???