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Catch a Fire [Vinyl] Import, Special Edition
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Catch A Fire (Deluxe Edition)
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Audio CD, Extra tracks, Original recording reissued, June 12, 2001
Audio, Cassette, Original recording reissued, June 19, 1990
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Except perhaps for the soundtrack album to the film "The Harder They Come," the Wailers' "Catch A Fire" (1973) was the first reggae album that most listeners outside of Jamaica ever heard. The group had been together in some form for a decade and had enjoyed a long series of Jamaican hit singles. They had also moved easily from r&b to ska before becoming one of the earliest reggae acts. Although Bob Marley wrote and sang most of the songs, it was by no means his band. Peter Tosh also was a major contributor, and Marley, Tosh and Bunny Livingston (a/k/a Bunny Wailer) had been bandmates from the beginning, and their vocal blend was striking and beautiful.
Island Records' founder and president Chris Blackwell had long followed the Jamaican music scene. When he heard the powerful results of the Wailers' '72 sessions he was ready to spring reggae on the rest of the world. Between this decision and the music's actual release, though, Blackwell got cold feet, and altered most of the tracks in London by judiciously and tastefully overdubbing rock keyboards, guitar and backing vocals in an apparent attempt to make the tracks more accessible to rock-oriented listeners. Whether these alterations were necessary, or even a good idea, "Catch A Fire" found an audience in England, the U.S. and elsewhere and became a modest hit.Read more ›
A blend of new and old (such familiar tracks as "Concrete Jungle," "Slave Driver," "400 Years," "Stop that Train" from "Catch A Fire," and "Put It On," "Small Axe" and "Duppy Conqueror" from "Burnin'" were remakes), these albums were the Wailers first releases with the intent to reach an international, mainstream audience. Blending in some rock influences such as the guitar style, and toning down the bass and drum for more treble sounds to reach the rock audiences in Europe and America, the Wailers debut on Island label snuck up slowly on these listeners, just as the intro to "Concrete Jungle" slowly rolls in, opening the "Catch A Fire" album. There may be some lesser, lighter moments on both albums, but no songs are throwaway, no songs are filler.
Sadly, despite being full of gems and instant Wailers classics, original members Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer left to start solo careers, feeling they were in the shadow of Bob, and had their own stories to tell musically. It was more unfortunate, because Bob Marley and the Wailers (as the group became known) never surpassed the quality of these albums on later efforts. With Tosh's departure went the edgy, bassy rhythm sounds, and with both Bunny and Tosh went the delectable harmonies they provided behind Bob's lead vocals.Read more ›
The two CD set, consisting of the previously unreleased original Jamaican version as recorded by Bob Marley & the Wailers and the album as remixed and released by Cris Blackwell on Island Records, shows the creative musical genius of Marley - indeed, the original version is arguablly the better of the two. The liner notes, consisting of a 28 page booklet, provide all the lyrics along with an insightful essay by Richard Williams and numerous pictures. Hardcore dedicated Marley fans will love this set.
But at a price.
Casual fans on the other hand will be burned by this deluxe edition, when the single disc remastered version containing the bonus tracks High Tide or Low Tide and All Day All Night may be all you need, at about half the price. These two songs were the only two songs on the original Jamaican version that didn't make the cut to be included on the previously released album. For the life of me, I can't understand why High Tide or Low Tide was left off in the first place. This beautiful song of faith and friendship (which was previously included only on the Songs of Freedom box set)is perhaps one of my favorite Marley tunes. And it's now available on the lower priced single CD remastered version of Catch a Fire. If you pick up that single CD, you get all of the songs, just not all of the alternate versions. But that is still enough to satisfy the casual fan.
For those who must have it all, this Deluxe Edition is worthy of all five stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The printing of the jacket and the vinyl feels cheap. It skips on a few songs. If it was not such a great album it would get 1 star.Published 8 days ago by Hlzbro
Favorite Bob Marley album!! however mine came warped, so check yours when it arrives.Published 1 month ago by XanderMax
The great Marley in his youth. Intrusted with the rock-steady sound He has taken it to highest of high. ONE LOVE.Published 4 months ago by Marshall Edgington
Bob Marley is to reggae what The Beatles are to rock and roll. Often imitated but never duplicated. Bob Marley wasn't just an artist or musician he was a god among men. Read morePublished 7 months ago by nick