July 23, 2004
On a lighter note...
Blimey, to think that last post was just envisaged as a (slight) response to Simon's shame thing.... 92 comments... and rising...
Anyway, it's good to be proven wrong. I checked out those Marley trax JD was praising in the comments: the lazy iced tea swirl of "stir it up". peter tosh and bunny doing a lovely shimmery curtis mayfield in back. but we'd be talking about the wailers and not marley the icon in that case: a different proposition really. listen to mr. brown, duppy conqueror; or the surging synths of "who the cap fit", on natural mystic. the seductive, slightly lagging, reverbed drums are what gets me. elemental.
They're fucking great. I think my aversion to the Marley I'd heard (besides the familiarity-breeding etc etc, the same problem I had for years with the Beatles and the Who, for instance) was a disinclination towards the anthemic. My nervous system just recoils in horror. That's why I find Bowie's 'Heroes' (the song, not the album) unlistenable, and will never be able to run U2.
But those Marley tracks - sylph-light, spider'sweb intricate and robustly pliant - are lovely.
(Shows his ignorance): are they produced by Perry?
Posted by mark at July 23, 2004 05:22 PM
I'm glad someone else doesn't like "Heroes"!
Phewww! k-punk-NYLPM truce called! :-)
LOL, no, I thought I was the only one who didn't like it...
Haha, I didn't post that comment, but I'm glad you are feeling some Marley now. I'll pass jd on to the imposter if I get to be matt.
The 'Rastaman Vibration' LP (that "Who the cap fit..." is from) is great. The 2nd reggae LP I ever bought. Not sure when it came out...but '76, I think I got it. 2nd-hand for about 50p. I remember how strange and alien it sounded to my ears back then; like it had been beamed in from another planet. I guess our ears have adjusted in the years since then. It's weird how people slam that stuff now for being sanitised for a white rock audience...but I can remember getting serious grief from my friends at the time (incl. PJ Harvey producer (and former Deep Puple fan) John Parish) for getting into Reggae. I think a load of Reggae acts got bottled off stage at Reading in (when?) '76 (??) and I remember John said it served them right for being crap. Liking reggae in a provincial town back then - even so-called mainstream stuff like Marley - was a serious social no-no. Needless to say, this was a red-flag to a bull for me... nothing like inverse peer group pressure to sharpen your outsider cred status...within a year I had discovered Keith Hudson, Tubby, Super-Ape, etc... RV is my favourite of the Marley Island stuff, but the early (Perry-produced) Pre-Island stuff is great too; took a little while for my skinny white ears to work their way backwards to the rootsier stuff. 3 years after they were slagging Marley, the same people were telling me how great "Exodus" was.
Yay! Nice one Mark!
I think I'm right in saying if it was a pop hit in the 70s it wasn't a Scratch production -- but I'm not a Marley expert.
Oh, and, yeah, I used to viscerally hate U2 more than anything else in the whole world. The wife changed that.
I must say I love Heroes. I even put it on a pub dukebox the night. There's somthing about its desperation that cuts through the bombast.
the perry produced lps are soul rebel and soul revolution. both awesome. the instrumental version of sr is nice too.
mr brown is a perry production, that deep organ sound and the original version of duppy conqueror is too (quite like lou reed did with velvets material, alot of it was re-recorded later). stir it up is off catch a fire (if memory serves) and is the first crossover record - sympathetic steel guitar overdubs by soul guitarist wayne perkins (still kind of lovely, done ) to appeal to the rock market.
if you can read 'bass culture's' accounts of perry and marley's super intense dalliance. driving all over the island, poets observing the real jamaica from a beaten-up car. marley is an icon, with all the pros and cons that that entails.
slsk 'brainwashing' for the full voodoo mindfuck.
i'm the jd with the marley ref., sorry for the confusion. the perry lp's are the better performances, and have that lovely, pillowy bass sound that perry got from bouncing everything down to a single track. whereas the Island versions sound oddly muscular in comparison. not bad at all, and sometimes quite quirky, but missing the otherworldly character. the version of 'stir it up' on the old grey whistle test dvd (May 1, 1973), however, is well worth seeking out. it's quite weird to see the pre-beardy Wailers sporting sharp afro-mod gear and playing with such gauzy weightlessness, when you know of all the heavy, mega-stoned roots to come.
Thanks anyway for inspiring me to check it out, Julian, great writing...