Easy Skanking in Boston 1978

When I was about eight years old, a friend of mine came back from a holiday to Jamaica brandishing a Bob Marley CD, her hair braided in red, gold and green, and she told me that this was one of the best artists I would ever hear. I obediently copied her CD to cassette tape, gave it a listen and hated it. He sounded like an old man. How could this ever live up to Kylie and Jason?

In fact, I don’t know when it was that I started enjoying Sir Bob but eventually I started to realise what real music was (though I still unashamedly love Kylie). For a little while recently I was quite obsessed with him after seeing the documentary film about his life- not to the point that I grew dreadlocks and punctuated sentences with ‘jah’ but he’s an interesting fellow, and obviously talented. He would have been 70 years old this year. What would he have made of the world if he was still around? Is he sitting on high with tears in his eyes or would his motto still be ‘everything’s gonna be alright?’

Either way, wherever he is and whatever he’s doing now, Bob’s family is ensuring that 2015 marks a yearlong celebration of rare and previously unheard material, in remembrance of an artist that still inspires some 30-odd years after his death, as if we could forget. Beginning with this live performance at Boston’s Music Hall from 1978 (my own legacy yet to begin then so I’m pleased to be able to share the moment now), the beauty of this release is that the fascination with icons like Marley never dies. A classic cliché for you right there. Sorry.

‘But how is this different to anything else we’ve heard on Heart FM a million times??’, I hear you growl. Well, for starters, you won’t have heard these versions unless you were there, because the recording comes from a private family collection. And while it does feature well-known tracks such as ‘Exodus’ and ‘I shot the Sheriff’, alongside those not on the Greatest Hits package (‘The Heathen’ and ‘Slave Driver’, for example), what is really cool is the completely new stuff. Some animated material forms part of the visual packages, as well as footage filmed by a fan who was allowed to sit right in front of the stage using a handheld camera to bring an intimacy not seen until now. This is clearly a must for anyone who already loves the man/ the myth/ the music or just wants to discover him. And you should, because it doesn’t get much better. Apart from Ms Minogue. Ha.

Anna C

Released 17th February, 2015. 

Available on Blu-ray/CD, DVD/CD and just CD. Fill your boots.