This past Saturday night we hosted a pot luck dinner for a bunch of our friends. I played all kinds of music, as is my wont on any given day, but this time I was searching for that one disc that really made people happy. Tom Waits tanked (I am clearly in the wrong crowd), as did the Buddha Lounge tribute to Metallica (but I kinda figured it would – I just put it on ‘cos the food theme of the pot luck was East Indian cuisine), although Lucinda Williams did alright. And then someone mentioned Bob Marley in passing, not even requesting it, so I put on this hits collection. The reaction was unanimous – everyone absolutely loved it. People knew all the words, singing along and involuntarily moving to the music. This was the winner, hands-down. It took over the conversation too, people just happily listening to what they’ve probably already heard a zillion times. So, next time you’re hosting a party, put on this gem. Works like a charm.
You know, we all have records like this in our collections. In fact, most of us probably have this record in our collections. It’s the one we’ve played so many times that we know every word by rote, and we know the track order like a reflex in our brains. It’s the one that has been there for us, in every situation. An old friend. Required Listening.
I heard somewhere, whether it’s true or not is another thing but I could totally believe it, that this was (and still is) one of Island Record’s best-selling albums and, in fact (if memory serves me correctly), one of the best selling records ever. It’s easy to hear why. This music was of a time and place, sure, but it’s also timeless and universal. It taps that vein we all seek in the effort of our daily lives.
We live and breathe these songs, and they are there for us in good times and bad, in indifferent and uncertain times too. They remind us that things can be different, or comfortably the same, depending on how you take it. They make everything okay, while simultaneously crying out for justice, peace and love for everyone. This is revolution as much as it is relaxation.
Just look at the track listing (below) and you’ll just nod your head knowingly. These songs are such a part of the soundtrack of most of our lives it’s almost unbelievable. They remind us of a person, or a place, or an event in our lives. From the opening note until the final one, this collection of songs is you, me, all of us.
We can mourn the passing of Bob Marley, but he’s still with us every time we put on this record, shining bright in every song without fail.
NB This set was re-released, with extra tracks, but somehow I wouldn’t want that. This original is the best version already and it’s just fine the way it is, thank you very much.
01 Is This Love
02 No Woman, No Cry
03 Could You Be Loved
04 Three Little Birds
05 Buffalo Soldier
06 Get Up Stand Up
07 Stir It Up
08 One Love/People Get Ready
09 I Shot The Sheriff
10 Waiting In Vain
11 Redemption Song
12 Satisfy My Soul