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08.05.2017

Number One Most Inspirational Album

Sam

Sam Burnett

The most bought Reggae album of all time Exodus is considered the culmination of Marley’s work as a musical activist. Although this album is not my personal favourite Reggae or even Bob Marley album, the impact it had and continues to have on audiences world wide is undeniable.

Exodus was Marley’s 9th studio album recorded in 1977 in London England. Marley and his Wailers moved there base to London after the attempt on his and his wife’s (Rita) life prior to the 1976 Jamaican peace concert. Despite Marley being shot in the chest and Rita being shot in the head, the group still performed the very next day. A typical scenario of a man who dedicated much of his adult life to trying to bring peace to his politically unstable and at times violent nation through his Reggae Music. Whilst this act of courage and defiance deserves respect and agitation. It also highlights the deep rooted political problems that Jamaica faced in 1976 which acted as the inspirational corner stone of Marley’s most successful album.

Exodus from a non purist perspective is filled with Reggae classics such as: Jammin, Three Little Birds, Turn Your Lights Down Low, Waiting in Vain and One Love to name a few. To the purist it is an album that discusses conflicting topics that are typical of the genre. Love, Religion and Politics.

Aston Barret’s Bass on the self titled track Exodus is one of the most famous and recognisable Bass lines in music throw in Bob Marley’s pure and piercing vocal lines with the soothing melodies of the Waliers and you have an album that continues to be sampled by Hip Hop, Reggae, Ragga, Pop, Blues and Pop artists to this day. All of the reasons above are powerful enough to place this album near the top of anyone’s list. However the reasoning of its inclusion right at the very top of mine has to be the social and racial impact this album had on people of all colours and creeds.

It would be fair to say that whilst Marvin Gaye, BB King and even the Jacksons in the mid 1970’s audiences were made up of primarily black audiences. Singing songs that expressed the troubles of a people only heard by the same people with the same troubles. Marley was in the fortunate or un-fortunate position of being mixed race. It is no secret that during Marley’s early years he faced racism from both White and Black people. To the Jamaicans, his Scottish Naval British father represented Babylon the very people who were repressing a nation and a culture. Whilst being mixed race placed him throughout the white run musical world as a black artist and therefore generally off limits to a white audience.

Exodus is top of my list as it was able to speak a truth that crossed all social barriers at that time. It had a social impact on the white community, leading to politicians talking about the troubles that faced many living in Jamaica’s ghetto’s as well as influencing the rappers of the 80’s and 90’s, who would use a similar message to portray their own dissatisfaction with how they were victimised, abused and treated.

This album and Marley’s music along with many others helped to shape Jamaica’s national identity at a time when it was essentially fighting a civil war after colonial rule had ended on the island. It propelled Marley to become the first Black superstar who primarily spoke about issues that faced Black people in a way that enabled White audiences, to if not fully understand but to appreciate the difficulties faced by many. This album came at a time when Mandela was treated as a terrorist throughout apartheid South Africa, when ruling parties in Jamaica run by White men, encouraged young Black men to take up arms for their own benefit of power. Exodus message not only of equality, but of showing young and old Black people that there was a place for members of every background on the international stage. That the troubles faced at these times were legitimate and that times would eventually change. It is impossible to quantify into words the importance of Bob Marley to the Jamaican people. A man who was reserved to almost god like status throughout this Island and it’s inhabitants, a man who gave an international identity and credibility to Rastafarian’s as well as helping to shape Jamaica’s national identity and to help break down social barriers amongst the youths in countries as far away as the UK.

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Nathan

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