Bob Marley And The Wailers – Exodus (1977)

FrontCover1Exodus is the ninth studio album by Jamaican reggae recording band Bob Marley and the Wailers, first released 3 June 1977 through Island Records. With the other original members leaving the group, Marley recruited a new backing band. Their first major success was Rastaman Vibration (1976). On 3 December 1976, an assassination attempt was made on Bob Marley’s life in which his chest was grazed and his arm was struck, but he survived. Following the assassination attempt Marley left Jamaica and was exiled to London where Exodus was recorded.[2]Exodus is the ninth studio album by Jamaican reggae recording band Bob Marley and the Wailers, first released 3 June 1977 through Island Records. With the other original members leaving the group, Marley recruited a new backing band. Their first major success was Rastaman Vibration (1976). On 3 December 1976, an assassination attempt was made on Bob Marley’s life in which his chest was grazed and his arm was struck, but he survived. Following the assassination attempt Marley left Jamaica and was exiled to London where Exodus was recorded.

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Exodus is a reggae album, incorporating elements of blues, soul, British rock and funk. The album’s production has been characterized as laid-back with pulsating bass beats and an emphasis on piano, trumpet and guitar. Unlike previous albums from the Wailers, Exodus thematically moves away from cryptic story-telling; instead it revolves around themes of change, religious politics, and sex. The album is split into two halves: the first half revolves around religious politics while the second half is focused on themes of sex and keeping faith.

The album was a success both critically and commercially; it received gold certifications in the US, UK and Canada, and was the album that propelled Marley to international stardom. In 2017 Exodus was remastered and re-released for its 40th anniversary. Exodus has more tracks on Marley’s greatest hits album, Legend—the highest selling reggae album of all time—than any of his other records.

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In 1974, the Wailers disbanded with each of the three main members pursuing solo careers. Despite the break-up, Marley continued recording as “Bob Marley & The Wailers”. His new backing band included brothers Carlton and Aston “Family Man” Barrett on drums and bass respectively, Al Anderson and Junior Marvin on lead guitar, Tyrone Downie and Earl “Wya” Lindo on keyboards, and Alvin “Seeco” Patterson on percussion. The “I Threes”, consisting of Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths, and Marley’s wife, Rita, provided backing vocals. In 1975, Marley had his international breakthrough with his first hit outside Jamaica, “No Woman, No Cry”, from the Natty Dread album. This was followed by his breakthrough album in the United States, Rastaman Vibration (1976), which became the 48th best-selling album on the Billboard Soul Charts in 1978.

In December 1976, Jamaica was going through elections, generating substantial political discourse. In his campaign, Prime Minister Michael Manley used the campaign slogan “We know where we’re going.” In response Marley wrote “Exodus”, which is the title track of the album. The song became a No. 1 hit in Jamaica as well as the United Kingdom and Germany.

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Cam described the album’s musical style as being “different,” noting that Marley’s style of reggae was not what was prominent in Jamaica during the time, and that the album’s music sounds unlike any reggae that came before its release.[6] Emeritus continued to describe the album’s sound as being rooted in the blues and soul, with elements of British Rock with a reggae “façade thrown on top” however Emeritus praised this saying “if Exodus was straight reggae, it probably wouldn’t be as good as it is.”
Exodus contains elements of pulsating bass beats, pianos and funk along with a “liquid-y bass,” drumming and guitars with the inclusion of trumpets in the title track. Unlike previous albums Exodus lyrical content moves away from cryptic story-telling and instead is clearer and more straight forward, the lyrics touch upon themes of change, religious politics and sex. Vocally, Marley provides a minimalist approach, trying not to reach his falsettos.

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The album’s track listing is split over two halves, the first half features songs of religious politics and opens with Natural Mystic which is a slow tempo “fade up” song, followed by “So Much Things To Say” which was described by the BBC as being “exuberant” and features a reggae-scat. The following two songs Guiltiness and The Heathen explore darker territory, before ending on the album’s title track. The second half of the album features songs revolving around sex and keeping faith.
“Jamming”, “Waiting in Vain”, “One Love/People Get Ready”, and “Three Little Birds” were all major international hits. Exodus peaked at number 20 on the Billboard 200 and at number 15 on the Black Albums chart, as well as remaining in the UK charts for 56 consecutive weeks, where it peaked at number 8.

In 1999, Time magazine named Exodus the best album of the 20th century. In 2001, the TV network VH1 named it the 26th greatest album of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 169 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. (by wikipedia)

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After the success of 1974’s Natty Dread and 1976’s Rastaman Vibration, Bob Marley was not only the most successful reggae musician in the world, he was one of the most powerful men in Jamaica. Powerful enough, in fact, that he was shot by gunmen who broke into his home in December 1976, days before he was to play a massive free concert intended to ease tensions days before a contentious election for Jamaican Prime Minister. In the wake of the assassination attempt, Marley and his band left Jamaica and settled in London for two years, where he recorded 1977’s Exodus. Thematically, Exodus represented a subtle but significant shift for Marley; while he continued to speak out against political corruption and for freedom and equality for Third World people, his lyrics dealt less with specifics and more with generalities and the need for peace and love (though “So Much Things to Say,” “Guiltiness,” and “The Heathen” demonstrate the bullets had taken only so much sting out of Marley’s lyrics).

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And while songs like “Exodus” and “One Love/People Get Ready” were anthemic, they also had less to say than the more pointed material from Marley’s earlier albums. However, if Marley had become more wary in his point of view (and not without good cause), his skill as a songwriter was as strong as ever, and Exodus boasted more than a few classics, including the title song, “Three Little Birds,” “Waiting in Vain,” and “Turn Your Lights Down Low,” tunes that defined Marley’s gift for sounding laid-back and incisive at once. His gifts as a vocalist were near their peak on these sessions, bringing a broad range of emotional color to his performances, and this lineup of the Wailers — anchored by bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett, drummer Carlton Barrett, and guitarist Julian “Junior” Murvin — is superb, effortlessly in the pocket throughout. Exodus was recorded at a time when Bob Marley was learning about the unexpected costs of international stardom, but it hadn’t yet sapped his creative strengths, and this is one of the finest albums in his stellar catalog. (by Mark Deming)

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Personnel:
Aston “Family Man” Barrett (bass, guitar, percussion)
Carlton Barrett (drums, percussion)
Tyrone Downie (keyboards, percussion, background vocals)
Bob Marley (vocals, guitar, percussion)
Julian (Junior) Marvin (guitar)
Alvin “Seeco” Patterson (percussion)
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I Threes:
Marcia Griffiths (background vocals)
Rita Marley (background vocals)
Judy Mowatt (background vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Natural Mystic 3.27
02. So Much Things To Say 3.08
03. Guiltiness 3:19
04. The Heathen 2.32
05. Exodus 7.35
06. Jamming 3.31
07. Waiting in Vain 4.16
08. Turn Your Lights Down Low   3:39
09. Three Little Birds 3.00
10. One Love/People Get Ready  2.51

All songs written by Bob Marley, escept “People Get Ready” written by

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