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Album Review

Spawned in 1986, Marley's Ghost — the name alone conjures up images of Charles Dickens with dreadlocks — may never become a household name, but the polarizing West Coast quartet has managed to stay on someone's radar long enough to get Van Dyke Parks to produce the band's seventh record. Fans of bluegrass, reggae, gospel, folk, and sea shanties will find at least one song on Spooked to love, and aficionados of all things adventurous — think Shopping Trolley-meets-Hot Club of Cowtown during the filming of The Last Waltz — will appreciate the "anything goes" atmosphere. At its heart, Marley's Ghost is as American as the pie of your choice, celebrating history, humor, ancestry, and rugged individualism in the guise of Western swing revivalists, and their take on traditional pieces like "Old Time Religion," "Sail Away, Ladies," and "Wicked Messenger" — Bob Dylan songs may as well be referred to as traditional — is both reverent and forward-thinking. Like other maverick traditionalists — Warren Zevon, Horseflies, Jim White — Marley's Ghost bring with them an air of gentrified discomfort, but like the snake oil salesman of old, their charm is irrefutable.

Customer Reviews

Suberb listening experience

The band name is intriguing, the art work on the front is fun and whimsical, and the music inside is delighful. This is a true jem of good musicianship spanning several different jenres with ease. Their reggae lyrics are bit white-boyish, but the sound is original and worthy of being dubbed. Their country and western is so right on that High Wall sounds like it was plucked from old Mearl Haggard or Willie Nelson album. Even their gospel harmonizing is soulful and impassioned ... All in all a great quality music on this album!


This is one of their best albums yet! I have known John, Danny, Mike, and Ed since I was a little kid. They are friends with my parents and I am amazed at their musical range. I try to see them whenever they are in the Bay Area and they are some of the best musicians I have ever seen.THis album is amazing but all of their albums are great. Check out Haunting Melodies, Ghost Country, and Live at the Freight. These are some of their best! Everyone should listen to these guys and marvel at their musical skills!


Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Marley's Ghost is an eclectic unit steeped in everything from gospel to bluegrass to old-time to Celtic to country -- even reggae. The group originally came together in 1986 when Danny Wheetman was invited by his friend Ed Littlefield Jr. to work on a solo effort in Littlefield's studio in Arlington, WA. Jon Wilcox and Mike Phelan came up from California to help out. (The three had been playing together since St. Patrick's Day of that year.) While working on the solo effort, the three began recording...
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