Bob Marley and The Wailers - Exodus - Review
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critics' view

Following the horrific assassination attempt on his life in December ‘76, Bob had wisely exiled himself from “heavy manners” Jamaica; this did not hamper his musical progress as evidenced very quickly on “Exodus” which was delivered from his new London HQ in June, 1977. With an attention-grabbing fade-in that encourages you to listen and hear, “Natural Mystic” kicks-off the album in glorious fashion… “there’s a natural mystic flowing the air”… the lyrics are up for interpretation, but it feels deep and purposeful, and is almost certainly concerned with Bob’s tireless crusade to preach good over evil. The mighty title-track paraphrases the statement made by Jamaican Prime Minister Michael Manley who had the slogan “We know where we're going” during the Elections campaign of ’76. Bob completely turns the slogan around by proclaiming “we’re going to our father land” and that this will be the great “movement of JA people”. It’s fair to say side 1 has been as tough as old boots, with killer basslines, crisp horns and intoxicating hooks.

With recent events, it would have understandable had Bob sought to carry this tack throughout the LP, but to the eternal credit of his spirit, side 2 is doused in peace, unity, love and having fun. “Jamming” is a masterclass in soul salvation “children must unite, for life is worth much more than gold”. At the same time the playful playing of the glass bottle – Lee Perry style – puts a huge smile on the face. “Waiting In Vain” emerges as a rare classic of the oft-dodgy lovers rock variety, whilst the soothing “Three Little Birds” is perfect as an anthem to unite peoples of the globe in the biggest dancefloor EVER. Bob doesn’t care if you’re in Ibiza or Iraq – wake up and smile at the rising sun. Closing the album, “One Love/People Get Ready”, a tune in his repertoire for some 12 years, is laid down definitively and mightily, a rallying call to stop all this fussing and fighting. I’m not a religious man, but even for me Bob’s message is palatable “Let's get together to fight this Holy Armagiddyon (One Love!), So when the Man comes there will be no, no doom (One Song!). Have pity on those whose chances grows thinner, there ain't no hiding place from the Father of Creation.” The concept of superior beings is, of course, a right load of old tosh, but I’ll ‘cede that Mr. Marley is in a musical class way ahead of most mortal souls. That was never clearer than right here on this, his finest LP.

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