Today's excursion involves tapes recorded on various home reel and cassette recorders in less-than-optimal conditions. I rarely post anything this low-fidelity, but these provide a rare and unusual glimpse into the life and work of an iconic, world-changing figure. Only a couple of these tracks made it, in finished form, to records; the rest are entirely unrecorded and unreleased, save these 100% informal, totally spontaneous-yet-revelatory takes.
There isn't much I can say about Bob Marley that hasn't already been said a million times, so we'll let the music do the talking with these raw and rudimentarily recorded demos -- featuring Bob outside the usual reggae context and jamming in a communal sort of folk-blues mode, with a couple of hypnotic trance journeys clocking in at nearly 20 minutes -- as we take a moment to acknowledge that he'd have only been 69 today.
Home acoustic tapes
1970s + 1980
"Mother Booker's tapes, Reel #1 remaster"
recorded sometime in 1979-80
02 Place of Peace
03 Record a New Song
04 We and Them
06 Jump Dem Inna Babylon
07 Pomps and Pride (bonus track)
08 Jammin' (bonus track)
09 Waiting In Vain (bonus track)
tracks 7-9 recorded unknown dates, probably 1977-80
Total time: 1:11:26
"The Yvette bedroom tape"
01 Are You Ready
02 When I Get to You
03 God of All Ages
05 They Set You Up My Son
07 Easy Skankin'
08 Oh What a Day
09 Everyday Is Such a Lonely Day (bonus track)
10 Feelin' Irie (bonus track)
11 Can't Bow Inna Babylon (bonus track)
tracks 9-11 recorded sometime in the 1970s
Total time: 1:14:04
various low gen home reels and cassettes rescued from Mother Cedella Booker's home in the 1980s
630 MB FLAC/February 2014 archive link
It's hard to say anything new about him, but at least we can listen in as Bob improvises, spontaneously composes, and otherwise constructs small snippets and lengthier musical sermons from the teachings of Ras Tafari whilst relaxing at home with friends. What these tapes lack in fidelity they more than make up for in unique, vérité documentation of a Lion for the Ages hard at work and play at the peak of his powers. --J.