Monday, June 7, 2010

Albums2010 #4: Legend

Of course we have to include this album. It's Bob freakin' Marley, people- and Legend as an album is the bestselling reggae album of all time. (20 million copies sold worldwide, including mine!) What, if anything can we say about Bob Marley? The guy was a genius and he was a pretty laid back symbol of peace, harmony and Rastafarianism and for the majority of people out there, Bob Marley is reggae. (There's others of course: Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff- but Marley is Marley man...)

Legend is one of those albums that featured heavily in the vacation rotation of my youth. Things usually went down like this: we went somewhere crazy far away, we'd be thrown in the back of the van at about 4 AM and Mom would drive until breakfast- which was usually around Lincoln, NE when we were going west- which was pretty much most of the time. Music began when Dad took the wheel and we went through the usual collection of Pink Floyd and Led Zeppelin before things like Joe Cocker, Fleetwood Mac and eventually Legend would make their appearance. Legend, to me, is probably the greatest compilation album of all time. As previously noted, Aerosmith's Big Ones does well, but Legend knocks it on its ass: every track is pitch perfect, from the opening 'Is This Love' followed by the live version of 'No Woman, No Cry' and moving on down from there.

I love the lyrics, I love the beat, I love the songs I love everything about this album. 'Get Up Stand Up' is probably the closest thing to a personal anthem that's in line with my philosophy than anything else I've ever heard. And 'Redemption Song' which was released posthumously after Marley's death from cancer in 1981 is a spare, beautiful farewell to a man who was a complete musical genius. What else, after all can one call Bob Marley other than a genius? He took reggae, made it his own and flung outwards to the world and there's nothing better than sitting on your porch, drinking a beer and listening to this album. It's one of those albums that's a mood lifter, a mood setter and just makes a bad day seem better whenever you listen to it.

Overall: What can you say? It's Bob Marley and the Wailers. It's Bob Marley- it makes me want to dance in the rain, makes me love life and convinces me like the man himself says that everything is actually going to be all right in the end. There are days when hope and optimism are in short supply for silly old me. Marley always balances my chi back out. Peace, rasta man. You introduced me to the wonder of reggae and wherever you are- thank you!

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