Sunday, July 23, 2017
Bob Marley - Natural Mystic (1992)
Despite the title of this bootleg, it isn't really a collection of solo Bob Marley recordings. Rather, it's a posthumous CD that's a grab-bag of early recordings by various incarnations of the Wailers, Bob Marley and the Wailers, and Bob Marley and producer Lee "Scratch" Perry and his house band, the Upsetters.
This came out a quarter century ago, and it's long been superseded by legit collections and at least one huge box set. So why post it? For several reasons. First, it has sentimental value to me. I bought this on the cheap when I had little money to spend on CDs, and I listened to it a lot when I was much younger.
Secondly, the background of these songs were always a mystery to me. Putting this out finally gave me impetus to do some research on the recordings (which I've included in the MP3 tags). I was surprised that they were a hodge-podge of released and unreleased recordings done in a variety of settings.
For one thing, I had no idea Marley recorded as extensively with Lee Perry as he did. I also didn't know that when they put out singles in Jamaica, sometimes they didn't have catalog numbers. But the Internet now allows us to see scans of those old 45 labels and that's the way it was. For example, Marley's early version of "Satisfy My Soul, "Rock My Boat," had no catalog number when it originally came out on the Tuff Gong label in 1971. That's also the case with "Keep On Mooving" (SIC) and "African Herbsman," the latter of which is a cover of a Richie Havens song.
Whenever possible, I corrected the song titles here (bootlegs are notorious for getting them wrong). So "Keep On Movin'" is now "Keep On Mooving," which is what is says on the record label. "Don't Rock My Boat" is titled "Rock My Boat" on the label. If you want the titles as they appeared on the bootleg, just check out the scans.
Finally, if you know little or nothing about Marley's music, you might be in for a surprise here. Where his most popular material is slickly produced, these early recordings are low-fi and gritty. This is the way a lot of early Jamaican music sounded and it's pretty infections -- much like a lot of the American R&B that inspired it.
I was a big reggae fan in the '80s and early '90s, so I have a whole bunch of collections like this by various reggae artists, most of whom are far lesser-known than Marley. In the future, I may post some of the more under-the-radar ones if the mood strikes.
Mikey Dread - S.W.A.L.K. (1982)
1. Bob Marley and the Upsetters - Natural Mystic
2. Bob Marley and the Wailers - Rock My Boat
3. Bob Marley and the Wailers- Keep On Mooving
4. Bob Marley and the Upsetters - Lively Up Yourself
5. The Wailers - Stop the Train
6. Bob Marley and the Upsetters - Small Axe
7. Bob Marley and the Wailers - Trench Town Rock
8. Bob Marley and the Wailers - Corner Stone
9. Bob Marley and the Upsetters - Mr. Brown
10. Bob Marley and the Wailers - Soul Shake Down Party
11. Bob Marley and the Wailers - African Herbsman
12. Bob Marley and the Wailers - Soul Almighty
13. Bob Marley - Treat You Right
14. Bob Marley and the Wailers- It's Alright