The album that nearly didn't happen
michaeleve | 01/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"What motivated Bob Marley to write some of his best lyrics, with strong spiritual content, messages of biblical condemnation for the wicked and biting criticism of the system and it's defenders? A complete album, some of his best work ever, and in contrast to earlier albums where there were always a few redone songs from his ska and rocksteady days, Exodus was mostly all new songs. Here you have an excellent mix - strong roots reggae rhythms on 'Natural Mystic' a Rasta grounation chant 'Heathen', a lighter dance tune 'Jammin', melodies such as 'One Love' and 'Three Little Birds' and two tracks that show Bob could have sung R&B, soul, love songs namely 'Waiting in Vain' and 'Turn your lights down low'. The title track was unique. Never before had there been a reggae song sounding like it, (funky world beat) nor had a reggae song ever been so long - over 7 minutes, most were short, to the point 3-4 minute jobs. The album built on what had been achieved with the previous album - penetration of the US market, but significantly here 'Exodus' was the first Wailer tune to get extensive airplay on African-American radio. What was the creative force behind all of this? We know that ganja and scripture reading was the fuel for some of Bob's words of wisdom but this album (specifically the first 4 tracks) were forged in direct response to one specific incident that happened to him in late 1976.Bob, Rita and the bands manager were at Bob's yard two nights before the 'Smile Jamaica' concert scheduled for December 5. The concert, featuring the Wailers, was to be held at the National Heroes Park in Kingston. It was conceived by Bob himself as a means of getting peoples minds off politics, which was the all consuming force in the Island at that time, with a general election coming up on December 16. Gunmen burst into the Marley house firing shots, all three were hit, Bob's manager five times, a shot grazed Bob's chest and hit his arm and Rita had one graze her skull. Who did it and for what reason was never known as the gunmen were not identified nor caught. Politics was suspected. Although the Wailers were not supporters of party politics they could hardly be called apolitical as their criticisms of the system, inequality, injustices and oppression had always been central to their message. It's just that it was the strongest in the previous album. If that is what it was all about, rather than be subdued, Bob was stirred up and 'Exodus' was his creative response fueled by righteous rastafari anger. Bob himself says so in a line from 'Jammin' - 'No bullet can stop us now'. All in all an album of excellent musical expression."
Bob Marleys true masterpiece
michaeleve | 06/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Really this album is definitive Bob Marley.Legend has assumed the mantle of being Bob's best album, yet it does not include " Roots,Rock,Reggae " which remains his only US top ten hit (No6).So-called connoiseurs fail to realise that " Buffalo Soldier" was a hit posthumously for Bob, but he didn't think it was good enough to put on a album when he was alive.Exodus turned Bob into a superstar although the US did not catch on till the release of Legend.Exodus contains everything, militancy, prophecy,romanticism,righteous education and more." Catch a Fire " is classic reggae, Exodus is classic Bob."
Dave | New York, Ny | 08/04/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Exodus is Bob's greatest album. It was after this point where he became the Legend that we know him to be. It was almost unfair for Bob to start off with Natural Mystic on the album; the song is almost too good. The first few almost silent chords are the first indication of what await us. What I like about the album the most is the different mix of beats and rhythms. They range from the smooth easy listening of Turn Your Lights Down Low to the hard one drop roots rhythm of Exodus. Exodus really introduced Bob Marley and the Wailers to the world because it had messages that people from all parts of the earth could relate to. It was post 1977 that the Wailers embarked on their legendary world tours in 1978, 1979, and 1980. They went to places as far Tokyo, New Zealand, and filled stadiums with 100,000 people in Milan, Italy and Berlin, Germany. The album set new standards for reggae by being one of the first reggae albums to become more mainstream and less focused on the trials and tribulations awaiting the Rastaman In Babylon. My favorite song on this album is...too hard a choice."