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Shane’s Music Challenge: BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS – 1973 – Catch A Fire

| 2 April 2014 | Reply

BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS – 1973 – Catch A Fire


Bob Marley & The Wailers - Catch A Fire cover

Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingstone (aka Bunny Wailer) had been cutting sides in Jamaica as The Wailers, with the likes of Scratch Perry producing, since 1965, quite a few of which had been released in England by Chris Blackwell’s Island records. These singles ranged from pop to ska, rocksteady to Jamaican-flavoured gospel – but they all contributed to the band’s major breakthrough, a legitimately NEW style of music, to be called reggae.

After some UK dates the band found themselves stranded in England and a promoter put them in touch with Blackwell, who advanced something like £8000 for the rights for their next album, which got them back to Jamaica and into the studio.

The result was the first real, international, reggae album. Some of the tracks were reworked from previous versions, but the unwavering beat and ‘chukka chukka’ guitars were new, as were the extensive overdubs Blackwell insisted on putting on the tracks.

Tosh & Livingstone quit the band (or, less prosaically, were forced out) when they objected to the overdubs and refused to tour extensively, leaving Bob to claim worldwide fame in their place, though both continued to make music and enjoy success.

Catch A Fire gave Marley exactly what he wanted though – a big enough hit in Stir It Up that appealed to not only Jamaican fans, but also made inroads in the West. The rest is history.

By Shane Pinnegar

Category: Shane's Rock Challenge

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Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

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