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Bob Marley & The Wailers|Catch A Fire (Deluxe Edition)

Catch A Fire (Deluxe Edition)

Bob Marley & The Wailers

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When the Wailers began recording their fifth album, they were in the middle of a contract dispute with CBS, the upshot being that Catch a Fire was their first record for Island under the auspices of Chris Blackwell. The band had recorded a batch of classic songs in Jamaica, then brought the tapes to London, where Blackwell proceeded to remix them, adding rock guitars and keyboards to a handful of tracks (with the band's ultimate approval). No matter how convoluted its creation might have been, Catch a Fire is a hands-down classic album that both defines and transcends the reggae genre while bringing it to a wider audience, and it started Bob Marley on his way to becoming a global star. As much as Marley became the hero over time, Fire is a group creation where the band, singers, and songwriters all worked together to create something greater than its individual elements. Yes, Marley wrote most of the songs and sang them with a pleasing blend of warmth and strength, but without the soothing, empowering harmonies of Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh backing him, and the at once tight and elastic bounce and strut of the band driving him forward, the album wouldn't have been nearly as good. Tosh, too, takes lead on a couple of songs: the deeply soulful, Impressions-inspired "Stop That Train" and the fierce protest song "400 Years," which shovel coals onto the fire that blazes beneath much of the record's laid-back exterior. The album is a good mixture of songs like that -- as well as "Concrete Jungle" and "Slave Driver" -- that make the listener want to shout and fight, and those that are made for times when the lights get a little lower and thoughts turn to romance. "Stir It Up" is one of these, and its echoing guitars, bubbling organ, and shimmering synths pair with Marley's aching lead and the note-perfect backing vocals to create a wonderfully slinky baby-making jam. "Baby We've Got a Date (Rock It Baby)" is a little more insistent, featuring some almost strident female vocals, but the mood is similar. The only hitch is the wandering slide guitar, a slight misstep that could have been avoided if Blackwell had left well enough alone. Another tiny stumble comes on "No More Trouble," which is the kind of vague, sloganeering song Marley became more known for once he jettisoned the other two Wailers and took center stage. It's a pretty good attempt, though, and the funky clavinet gives the song some extra bite. Regardless of these faint faults, the album holds together incredibly well as a listening experience and features the original Wailers at their angriest, toughest, and most romantic peak. Anyone looking to check out reggae at its very best -- or Bob Marley before he became an omnipresent icon -- would do well to give Catch a Fire a spin.

© Tim Sendra /TiVo

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Catch A Fire (Deluxe Edition)

Bob Marley & The Wailers

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1
Concrete Jungle (Jamaican Version)
00:04:15

Errol Brown, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Producer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Suha Gur, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2001 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

2
Stir It Up (Jamaican Version)
00:03:39

Errol Brown, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Producer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Suha Gur, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2001 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

3
High Tide Or Low Tide (Jamaican Version)
00:04:44

Errol Brown, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Producer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Suha Gur, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2001 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

4
Stop That Train (Jamaican Version)
00:03:54

Errol Brown, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Producer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Suha Gur, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2001 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

5
400 Years (Jamaican Version)
00:03:02

Errol Brown, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Producer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Suha Gur, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2001 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

6
Baby We've Got A Date (Rock It Baby) (Jamaican Version)
00:04:05

Errol Brown, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Producer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Suha Gur, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2001 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

7
Midnight Ravers (Jamaican Version)
00:05:08

Errol Brown, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Producer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Suha Gur, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2001 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

8
All Day All Night (Jamaican Version)
00:03:28

Errol Brown, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Producer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Suha Gur, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2001 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

9
Slave Driver (Jamaican Version)
00:02:56

Errol Brown, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Producer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Suha Gur, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2001 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

10
Kinky Reggae (Jamaican Version)
00:03:44

Errol Brown, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Producer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Suha Gur, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2001 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

11
No More Trouble (Jamaican Version)
00:05:16

Errol Brown, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Producer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Suha Gur, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2001 Universal Island Records Ltd. A Universal Music Company.

DISC 2

1
Concrete Jungle (Original Album Version)
00:04:14

Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Tony Platt, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - CHRIS BLACKWELL, Producer - Wayne Perkins, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Tyrone Downie, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Robbie Shakespeare, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John "Rabbit" Bundrick, Keyboards, Organ, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Winston Wright, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Karen, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Francisco Willie Pep, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1973 Universal-Island Records Ltd.

2
Slave Driver (Original Album Version)
00:02:54

Errol Brown, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Tony Platt, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - CHRIS BLACKWELL, Producer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John "Rabbit" Bundrick, Keyboards, Organ, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Winston Wright, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Karen, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Francisco Willie Pep, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Suha Gur, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1973 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

3
400 Years (Original Album Version)
00:02:46

Errol Brown, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Tony Platt, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - CHRIS BLACKWELL, Producer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John "Rabbit" Bundrick, Keyboards, Organ, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Winston Wright, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Karen, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Francisco Willie Pep, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Suha Gur, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1973 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

4
Stop That Train (Original Album Version)
00:03:56

Errol Brown, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Tony Platt, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - CHRIS BLACKWELL, Producer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John "Rabbit" Bundrick, Keyboards, Organ, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Winston Wright, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Karen, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Francisco Willie Pep, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Suha Gur, Assistant Mixer, StudioPersonnel

℗ 1973 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

5
Baby We've Got A Date (Rock It Baby) (Original Album Version)
00:03:58

Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Tony Platt, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - CHRIS BLACKWELL, Producer - Wayne Perkins, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John "Rabbit" Bundrick, Keyboards, Organ, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Winston Wright, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Karen, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Francisco Willie Pep, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1973 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

6
Stir It Up (Original Album Version)
00:05:34

Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Tony Platt, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - CHRIS BLACKWELL, Producer - Wayne Perkins, Electric Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Tyrone Downie, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John "Rabbit" Bundrick, Keyboards, Organ, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Winston Wright, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Karen, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Francisco Willie Pep, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1973 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

7
Kinky Reggae (Original Album Version)
00:03:39

Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Tony Platt, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - CHRIS BLACKWELL, Producer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John "Rabbit" Bundrick, Keyboards, Organ, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Winston Wright, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Karen, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Francisco Willie Pep, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1973 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

8
No More Trouble (Original Album Version)
00:04:00

Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Tony Platt, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - CHRIS BLACKWELL, Producer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John "Rabbit" Bundrick, Keyboards, Organ, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Winston Wright, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Karen, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Francisco Willie Pep, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1973 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

9
Midnight Ravers (Original Album Version)
00:05:07

Bob Marley, Producer, Acoustic Guitar, Recording Arranger, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Marcia Griffiths, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Tony Platt, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - CHRIS BLACKWELL, Producer - Peter Tosh, Guitar, Organ, Piano, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Rita Marley, Background Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Bob Marley & The Wailers, MainArtist - The Wailers, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Bunny Wailer, Percussion, Bongos, Vocalist, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Barrett, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Aston Barrett, Bass Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - John "Rabbit" Bundrick, Keyboards, Organ, Synthesizer, AssociatedPerformer - Winston Wright, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Carlton Lee, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Stu Barrett, Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Chris Karen, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer - Francisco Willie Pep, Percussion, AssociatedPerformer

℗ 1973 Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Limited

Album review

When the Wailers began recording their fifth album, they were in the middle of a contract dispute with CBS, the upshot being that Catch a Fire was their first record for Island under the auspices of Chris Blackwell. The band had recorded a batch of classic songs in Jamaica, then brought the tapes to London, where Blackwell proceeded to remix them, adding rock guitars and keyboards to a handful of tracks (with the band's ultimate approval). No matter how convoluted its creation might have been, Catch a Fire is a hands-down classic album that both defines and transcends the reggae genre while bringing it to a wider audience, and it started Bob Marley on his way to becoming a global star. As much as Marley became the hero over time, Fire is a group creation where the band, singers, and songwriters all worked together to create something greater than its individual elements. Yes, Marley wrote most of the songs and sang them with a pleasing blend of warmth and strength, but without the soothing, empowering harmonies of Bunny Wailer and Peter Tosh backing him, and the at once tight and elastic bounce and strut of the band driving him forward, the album wouldn't have been nearly as good. Tosh, too, takes lead on a couple of songs: the deeply soulful, Impressions-inspired "Stop That Train" and the fierce protest song "400 Years," which shovel coals onto the fire that blazes beneath much of the record's laid-back exterior. The album is a good mixture of songs like that -- as well as "Concrete Jungle" and "Slave Driver" -- that make the listener want to shout and fight, and those that are made for times when the lights get a little lower and thoughts turn to romance. "Stir It Up" is one of these, and its echoing guitars, bubbling organ, and shimmering synths pair with Marley's aching lead and the note-perfect backing vocals to create a wonderfully slinky baby-making jam. "Baby We've Got a Date (Rock It Baby)" is a little more insistent, featuring some almost strident female vocals, but the mood is similar. The only hitch is the wandering slide guitar, a slight misstep that could have been avoided if Blackwell had left well enough alone. Another tiny stumble comes on "No More Trouble," which is the kind of vague, sloganeering song Marley became more known for once he jettisoned the other two Wailers and took center stage. It's a pretty good attempt, though, and the funky clavinet gives the song some extra bite. Regardless of these faint faults, the album holds together incredibly well as a listening experience and features the original Wailers at their angriest, toughest, and most romantic peak. Anyone looking to check out reggae at its very best -- or Bob Marley before he became an omnipresent icon -- would do well to give Catch a Fire a spin.

© Tim Sendra /TiVo

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