Classic album review: Uprising, Bob Marley & the Wailers

Posted: August 6, 2009 in Album Reviews

uprising

Last Friday, my wife and I attended a Snoop Dogg concert at the Sun Dome in Tampa. One of the opening acts was Stephen Marley, son of the late, great Bob Marley. I had never heard Stephen’s music before but the first thing that struck me was how similar he sounded to his dad. His band was lively, and he was joined on stage by brother Damian for a few songs. Somewhere in heaven, Bob was smiling broadly as several of his hits were sprinkled into the setlist, including “Buffalo Soldier” and “Three Little Birds.” They also played a pair of classics from one of my favorite Marley albums.
Uprising came out in June 1980 and was the final album released before cancer took his life less than a year later. His sons did a great job conveying his spirit on “Could You Be Loved” and especially on set closer “Redemption Song”, which also closed Uprising.
Although he was dying of melanoma which eventually spread to his brain and lungs, Marley’s music remained extremely upbeat. “Redemption Song” proved to be a beautiful epitath as the “songs of freedom” mentioned in the lyrics could easily represent his entire catalogue. His songs are timeless and whether he’s writing about the oppression of the poor, celebrating the Rastafarian lifestyle or just turning the party out with positive vibes, Marley lives on.
Uprisingmay not have the lasting impact of Catch a Fire, Natty Dread or Exodus which were his true classics, but it certainly plays to his strengths and stands along side Kaya as an underrated gem. There are religious tunes like Zion Train and Forever Loving Jah, rants against injustice like Bad Card and Real Situation, and of course feel-good party tunes like the classic single Could You Be Loved. But the song that will always resonate the most is the simplest tune musically, the aforementioned Redemption Song. While the rest of the album contains great playing by the Wailers, the final track features just Marley and his acoustic guitar. He may not have known it at the time, but this song was a perfect farewell, one that gives me chills every time I hear it. 28 years after his death, the man remains as vital today as he was then. Songs of freedom, indeed.
Sod rating: ****

Advertisements
Comments
  1. […] METS, MUSIC AND OTHER MUSINGS But the song that will always resonate the most is the simplest tune musically, the aforementioned Redemption Song. While the rest of the album contains great playing by the Wailers, the final track features just Marley and his acoustic guitar. […] […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s