Bob Marley and the Wailers toured the breakthrough Exodus record in 1977, but the tour was cut short at the Rainbow in London due to a soccer injury. Bob was playing soccer with some French journalists and injured his toe, which led to the cancelation of US shows and cut the tour short. Some say that cancelling these shows is the reason Bob Marley never reached the heights in America that he should have. That’s one historic soccer injury. Now we can experience that final show with the release of the Rainbow 1977 record.
For the sake of the new music review, I will focus on one track and use that to comment on the record as a whole. For me, the standout track on this record is I Shot the Sheriff. Lyrically, Bob sings about police oppression and justice. The narrator is hounded by the police and shoots the sheriff in self – defence. THe song itself is about being falsely accused within a community rife with political corruption and injustice. Even though these themes are present today, the song’s mucial arrangemnt hihglights this record’s strengths.
First of all, the production value of this record is incredible. For a live record, the production values on instruments and vocals is clear and faultless. You get the vibe form the band without sacrificing Bob’s, and the Wailers’, vocal power. Moreover, the crowd come through in the mix, which really gives the record its live energy. On I Shot the Sheriff, Aston Barrett’s bass gives the song a real dirty funk vibe, which is fantastic. We all know the original’s roots reggae vibe with skank guitar and organic percussion. The live version’s funk makeover gives new interest and mystery to such an iconic classic. Also, Tyrone Downie’s keyboard flourishes break through to give the track a visceral energy. Moreover, Rita Marley and the Wailers deliver warm backing vocals that give the track added punch.
The musicality on this track is indicative of the high level performance on the entire record. This is not a band just playing the hits, but a band jamming and redefining their songs in real time on stage. This is not just a must have for all Bob Marley fans, but a must have for fans of live music.
Listen to I Shot the Sheriff