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Catch a Fire (Deluxe Edition)

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Album Review

This two-disc set heralds the beginning of the overdue reassessment of Bob Marley & the Wailers' Island Records/Tuff Gong CD catalog — and where better to begin than the beginning? Catch a Fire (Deluxe Edition) actually goes one better — issuing the original as well as a non-overdubbed (aka "Jamaican") version of the album. Disc one contains the latter version — which has been previously unissued until this point. It also tends to overshadow the brilliant sonic restoration done on the standard issue — featured on disc two. The early "Jamaican version" of Catch a Fire consists of the album as it was first delivered to Chris Blackwell — talent scout/owner/operator of Island Records. While pleased with the results, Blackwell convinced Marley & the Wailers that sonic enhancements might be in order. The "Jamaican version" was then remixed with added lead guitar work by Nashville cat Wayne Perkins, as well as various keyboards textures from John "Rabbit" Bundrick. The ironic thing is that the changes and augmentations made by the session pros ultimately suppressed the organic and otherwise uncomplicated nature of Marley & the Wailers music. This very quality became the thing that propelled Marley — and ultimately his message — globally as well as spiritually, allowing him to join the ranks of John Lennon, Bob Dylan, and Marvin Gaye. Also included on the "Jamaican version" are two additional tracks: "High Tide or Low Tide" and "All Day All Night" recorded for inclusion on the original Catch a Fire. While they have been released in various forms over the years, they have been returned to their place in the Catch a Fire running order. The second disc contains Catch a Fire the way it was originally issued. While not as historically significant, it has never sounded better.


Born: 06 February 1945 in St. Ann, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

Reggae's most transcendent and iconic figure, Bob Marley was the first Jamaican artist to achieve international superstardom, in the process introducing the music of his native island nation to the far-flung corners of the globe. Marley's music gave voice to the day-to-day struggles of the Jamaican experience, vividly capturing not only the plight of the country's impoverished and oppressed but also the devout spirituality that remains their source of strength. His songs of faith, devotion, and revolution...
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