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Thursday, December 30, 2004

A TALE OF TWO RECORDS, BABYLON BY BUS Vs BLACK AND BLUE

In preparation for our long drive to Charleston and back, I bought two CD’s: Bob Marley’s ‘Babylon By Bus’, and the Stones ‘Black And Blue’. Both albums got much playtime, during the drive, and at the beach house in SC. I must have heard the ‘Bob Marley Live’ record from 1975 a thousand times, and though I’ll never tire of tracks like ‘Burnin’ and Lootin’ and ‘Them Bellyfull (But We Hungry)’, ‘I Shot The Sheriff’ and ‘No Woman No Cry’ have attained “Stairway” status, which is to say I never need to hear them again. I wanted to dig deeper into Bob, to get beyond the ‘Legend’ tracks, and ‘Babylon By Bus’ was a great start (not to mention the vinyl I got for x-mas, ‘Exodus’ and “Rastaman Vibration’). First off ‘Babylon..’ must have been a double record, because it’s a long CD, it has 13 tracks, and many of them clock in at 7 plus minutes; it got us most of the way through Virginia. The standouts for me are 'Rat Race’ (Written by Rita!), ‘War/No More Trouble’, ‘Kinky Reggae’, and ‘Rebel Music’, but it’s another start to finish record that never disappoints. Even the standards, ‘Is This Love’, ‘Lively Up Yourself’, and ‘Jammin’ feel fresh and new. Bob’s band, at this point, was a crack team of reggae masters including Junior Marvin, who’s lead guitar propels Marley’s songs into the atmosphere, and the Barrett brothers, Carlton and Aston, on drums and bass respectively, who keep Bob's music firmly planted on terra firma. After the Bob, I put in the Stones. “Black and Blue’ is an often over looked classic by the Stones. It gets chalked up as a transitional record, a second tier Stones album, but I love it, and it went well with the Bob because texturally it has a similar feel. ‘Hey Negrita’, and ‘Oh Cherry Oh Baby’ are reggae riffs, and the added funk of ‘Hot Stuff’ kept the up the groove that Marley’s record had inspired. ‘Memory Motel’ is one of my all-time favorites. “What’s all this laughter on the 22nd floor, it’s just some friends of mine and they’re bustin’ down the door.” I can’t get enough of it. My Baby was diggin’ on ‘Melody’, the Billy Preston showcase on the record. And then there’s ‘Hand Of Fate’, probably the most classically hard rocking song the Stones ever did, I could easily hear a band like Thin Lizzy doing this song. “I killed a man, I’m highway bound…’ It kicks ass. Both of these records, as I said, found their way into heavy rotation at the beach house, and helped create the mood that prevailed during our stay, one of joy and rapture, the way only truly authentic records do.

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