“Rastaman Vibration” by Bob Marley and The Wailers - album review

features in: Album Chart of 1976Album Chart of the Decade: 1970s

TJR says

The Bob Marley story was moving along beautifully at this time. There had been no studio albums in ’75 but the live version of “No Woman No Cry” had given him single success in several countries. “Rastaman Vibration” arrived in April ’76 and cemented the growing worldwide reputation of the man and his group, and was a roaring commercial success in all the main territories, especially in the United States where it gave them their first Top 10 album. “Positive Vibration” leads the album off excellently in every way; the bass is deep and true, the I-Threes are sweet and sharp and Bob exudes positivity to all people: “If you get down and quarrel every day, you're saying prayers to the devil, I say, why not help one another on the way, make it much easier” Who could argue with that? Bob’s soulfulness is to the fore on “Johnny Was”, displaying compelling empathy with the mother of a murdered son, and striking a general chord with those in war-torn regions the world over.

Crazy Baldhead” opens up side 2 in classic fashion, almost a party political broadcast on behalf of the Rastafarians – run Babylon out of the yard is the plea, though it’ll never happen. Got to hand it to him though – he’s committed and consistent with it. “Who The Cap Fit” defines the sound of the Wailers in 1976 – an exceedingly soulful vocal from Bob, awesome lyrics (double-crossers, hypocrites and parasites are in the firing line this time), terrific gospel-like wailing from the I-Threes, prominent synths, and deep roots-rocking from the Barrett brothers. It doesn’t get much better. Another of the major highlights on this wonderful LP is “War”, as, again, the wicked Barrett Bros rhythm section plays a massive part, offering disciplined and infectious support for Bob’s chanting which re-enacts the speech made by Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie I before the United Nations General Assembly on 4 October 1963: “Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, everywhere is war. That until there are no longer first and second class citizen of any nation. Until the colour of a man skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes. Everywhere is war.” It’s impossible not to get swept up in the fervour – count me in on this battle of good over evil.

Alas, these positive vibrations were severely challenged in December ’76 when an assassination attempt was made on Bob’s life, thought to be politically motivated, just 2 days before he was due to appear at the Smile Jamaica Concert, ironically a concert which was designed to rally for peace between political rivals on the Island. Bravely, the wounded Bob went ahead with the concert anyway, before heading for an 18-month exile to let things cool down. In Kingston, the bullet holes on the wall of his former home remain today; still yet, there is so much trouble in the world.

The Jukebox Rebel

A1 [03:33] 9.4.png Bob Marley and The Wailers - Positive Vibration (Vincent Ford) Reggae
A2 [03:38] 6.8.png Bob Marley and The Wailers - Roots, Rock, Reggae (Vincent Ford) Reggae
A3 [03:48] 7.6.png Bob Marley and The Wailers - Johnny Was (Rita Marley) Reggae
A4 [02:36] 7.5.png Bob Marley and The Wailers - Cry To Me (Rita Marley) Reggae
A5 [04:15] 7.0.png Bob Marley and The Wailers - Want More (Aston Barrett) Reggae
B1 [03:11] 9.3.png Bob Marley and The Wailers - Crazy Baldhead (Rita Marley, Vincent Ford) Reggae
B2 [04:43] 10.0.png Bob Marley and The Wailers - Who The Cap Fit (Aston Barrett, Carlton Barrett) Reggae
B3 [03:11] 6.8.png Bob Marley and The Wailers - Night Shift (Bob Marley) Reggae
B4 [03:36] 9.2.png Bob Marley and The Wailers - War (Allen Cole, Carlton Barrett) Reggae
B5 [02:49] 7.1.png Bob Marley and The Wailers - Rat Race (Rita Marley) Reggae

© The Jukebox Rebel 2005-2020 All Rights Reserved