Bob Marley & The Wailers - Another Dance (Rarities From Studio 1)
Heartbeat - #CDHB 335 - October 16, 2007
Another Dance, and another, and another...
Reviewed by MightyZ on November 25, 2007
Bob Marley and the Wailers are probably the best known names in Reggae music worldwide. The success enjoyed by the Wailers in the 70’s and the legendary status achieved by Bob Marley are well known, but for me the best part of the story is right at the beginning. Although this album is credited to Bob Marley and the Wailers the songs would actually have originally been attributed to just The Wailers, or Wailing Wailers or one of the other names used, and it would be wrong to forget the names of Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston as the lead vocals were shared in these early days. Also in the line up are Junior Braithwaite and Beverley Kelso, who also appear on vocals, in fact Junior takes the lead in some songs. Other singers also appear in the line up from time to time during these early years. Bob himself had recorded four solo songs for Leslie Kong’s Beverley’s records prior to his days at Studio One, although the legend suggest that he had originally intended these songs for the ears of Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd at Studio One. In 1963 The Wailers were formed and introduced to Coxsone by Joe Higgs. Joe continued to work with The Wailers, becoming something of a mentor for them and helping them with vocal harmonies.
So what about this collection? Although many of the songs have been released before, this is a collection of rare alternative mixes and also has some previously unreleased songs, so it should appeal to the collector and novice alike.
In total there are 18 songs, showing the broad spectrum of styles that The Wailers explored. Ska of varying tempo, soul and gospel are all featured on this collection, making for a complete overview of what the early Wailers sound was like. It also makes for a good musical history lesson as it pulls together many of the influences that were later to be key in shaping Reggae music in years to come. Above all though, it is just pure joy to listen to!
I like to pick out key tracks from any album I review, but I have to say that has been an extremely tough call for this album. I’ve been ruthless and still only managed to narrow the list to half of the tracks!
The collection kicks of with a version of Curtis Mayfield’s ‘Another Dance’, The Wailers version is a superb mid-tempo Ska number with sublime vocal harmonies and a lovely tenor sax solo from Roland Alphonso. This is followed by the first soul offering on the collection, the classic ‘I’m Still Waiting’, which is one of my all time favourites from the Wailers and reminds us that they made some of the best soul tracks ever to come from Jamaica. We are then treated to a couple of real up-tempo Ska numbers before returning to soul for two more cuts. The second of these soul tunes is ‘Don’t Ever Leave Me’ which features a young Junior Braithwaite weeks before he left the band to immigrate to the United States. I can’t help singing along to this one, although I struggle with the high notes, where Junior Braithwaite begins to sound like a young Michael Jackson.
Next we return to some lively ska for a couple of tunes, including another classic ‘Lonesome Feelings’ another all time favourite of mine. This is followed by ‘Cry to Me’, a driving mid-tempo Ska track with powerful and haunting falsetto harmonies. Next up, a couple more Ska tracks including the original version of ‘One Love’, one of the Wailers best know tunes. Then we get to another couple of excellent soul tunes in ‘It Hurts to be Alone’ and ‘Where Will I Find’ - and I’m singing along again! Back to Ska for ‘Lonesome Track’, unfortunately this is a rather rough cut of this fine song, followed by the classic downbeat style of ‘Let Him Go’.
The pace then quickens again as we approach the end of the collection. ‘Love and Affection’ is another up-tempo Ska classic from The Wailers and another long time favourite of mine. This is followed by the eminently danceable ‘Guajara Ska’ before the album ends on a spiritual note with ‘I Left My Sins’. This is an out and out Gospel track, which was originally released on Coxsone’s Gospel label Tabernacle Records.
To summarise, this is an extensive collection charting the formative years of The Wailers. It is thoroughly enjoyable listening as well as possessing historical importance. Once again, Heartbeat has enhanced our enjoyment of this release with some comprehensive sleeve notes, giving background information and lyrics where possible. I recommend this release most highly!
MightyZ - Roots Archives, November 2007
Edited by Leggo Rocker