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How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?

Posted by IamReggae 
How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 12, 2016 03:31PM
I've been contemplating this for some time now. Ask anyone if they like Reggae and they will say..."Yes, I love Bob Marley!". And then ask them if there are any other Reggae artists they like and you get a blank stare. Sometimes you might get someone who'll throw out "Steel Pulse" or "Burning spear" as an afterthought.

So why does everyone "love" Reggae but no one really supports it other than us members on this forum? I know I'm kind of generalizing but am I the only one thinking this? How can we get wider reaching support for the more "rootsy" artists? OK...so maybe two-chord Reggae can get a little drab but what about modern roots artists like Raging Fya, or Tarrus Riley or Romain Virgo or Busy Signal or New Kingston or Etana etc.?



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/2016 04:06PM by IamReggae.
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 12, 2016 03:55PM
because everyone wants to be that guy who works in the record store.. you know that guy wearing the 78 stones roadie t-shirt. complete with the cut off sleeves exposing very hair arms.
that guy when you ask for the latest fleetwood mac lp, he responds snobbishly like "their real good stuff is when they recorded the black lp while in the back of the bus, with a bearly audbile running toilet in the background of every song"
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 12, 2016 04:53PM
you also forget, reggae music is a music that is heavily influenced by the principles of african liberation.
reggae music is fuled by the spirits of those african ancestors who died on the transatlantic voyage.
so it is that energy that speaks to many reggae musicians.. many listeners arent on that level or that energy doesnt match theirs.
bob marley was able to tap into a frequency that is more universal.. chris blackwell knew that if you add instruments and sounds that resonate at a certain register, that the music would be more palatable. there is much research and science that goes into the music business. not only from a sales/marketing perspective but from a sound engineering perspective.

at top levels, many productions have certain rituals performed on them before they are released.. but such is a topic for another time.

if you check the album 'catch a fire' in all songs bob tells the story of what he had to do to make it in the music business.
many people take the lyrics at face value or mis-interpet them. no sir, bob is telling his experience and what he had to
do for his fame.
bunny wont tell it, but there is a VERY good reason why after catch-a-fire the wailers disbanded.
i would also wager bunny didnt take the deal, which is why he is still alive today.
he says as much in some of his interviews. but its cloaked in a way that you if you are not listening you wont hear.
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 12, 2016 05:15PM
whats more... bob marley's lyrics are propehtic almost scriptural. he tapped into something, that if you have ears will hit deeply.
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 12, 2016 05:24PM
and so it go into the next generation... LYRICS!!



Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 12, 2016 05:32PM
On a certain level, most people I talk to who don't have much interest in Reggae are turned away because they have trouble resonating with the Rastafari movement, for one reason or another. Bob Marley created music with a certain universality that I think people can hear the messages and resonate whether or not they honor His Imperial Majesty.

I think you're right about this one BV. When one artist blows up like Bob Marley did, and none of his peers creating similar style music get even half as big, you gotta wonder what kind of deals were made behind closed doors. This is a conversation that people have brought up with me many times over the past year... At first I didn't want to hear it as much because it's tough to swallow.. Over time I started to look in to it more, which left me at the spot where I really can't call it one way or the other..

This is kinda off topic, but I also was able to speak with some people who were there at the time and get confirmation that Peter Tosh was unaffectionately called the Barber in his later days because he used to go around cutting people's locks by force, thinking he was some sort of judge as to whether they a true Rasta or not. Some times ya learn the truth about a person and you gotta totally realign how you think about them.. Truth is truth, even if it don't feel good. Anyway, I first read about that on here, and was skeptical, so I had to bring it up with the right people in the right moment to find out for sure. I think it was one of your posts, BV. so big up yourself on that one if I'm remembering right.
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 12, 2016 05:51PM
Quote
rootsthroughsidewalks
I think it was one of your posts, BV. so big up yourself on that one if I'm remembering right.

this is the first time i have heard about peter and his barbering. so wasnt me.

big up same way

:-)
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 12, 2016 06:22PM
I once had a girlfriend that claimed she loved reggae, she was a few years younger than me, and I was 19 at the time. I asked her if she knew any other reggae artists besides Bob and she did not, lol. I played some Itals (nighthawk productions as the real test) for her, she claimed to really like it. She tried playing the mix tape I made for her to her friends, and found out real quick how mainstream folks feel about the roots. "You arent supposed to listen to reggae that isnt bob, that would just be weird, it sounds so inferior to todays music." She took on her friends attitude about reggae, needless to say, she did not have much depth to her, and I moved on.
The story of the Wailers splitting and why is an interesting topic that we all can stand to learn more about. The intricacies of Bob's life and death seem similar to a conspiracy theory, so hard to get to the truth. Bunny has some pretty nasty allegations directed at both Rita and Chris.

Bob Marley was Killed By...



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/2016 06:49PM by Pale Ryder.
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 12, 2016 07:50PM
Quote
Pale Ryder
I played some Itals (nighthawk productions ...

the same night hawk productions also helped me branch out from the standard...

1. bob marley
2. steel pulse
3. ub40

in fact it was the nighthawk compliation 'calling ras tafari' that caused me to buy the itals 'brutal out deh'
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 12, 2016 08:39PM
Brutal Out Deh is one of my favorite albums of all time. I've tried to get my wife hooked onto it by playing "gimme what I want" (because I think its the most catchy), and I'll say just give it a chance and you'll thank me later. It doesn't work though.

On a related note, I think the best music (most of my favorite music) is music that you don't immediately like, but grows on you over time. And I'm just as guilty of this as my wife - for example, I think I'd love modern roots artists (like Chronixx and Tarrus) a lot more if I gave them more of a chance to grow on me. I just don't cause I'm off listening to other kinds of music now.

As a kid, I used to just blindly jump in with both feet into whatever reggae albums I could get my hands on (like brutal out deh) cause I was certain that all reggae was the @#$%&, and I wanted to be cool and know all the words to all the songs.

But in an attempt to more directly answer the question, I think it has a lot to do with your upbringing and how you're introduced to the music. When I was growing up, reggae was widely listened to among my friends and older brothers, and that's how I learned to have an open mind to it.
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 12, 2016 09:34PM
Quote
bigvein
you also forget, reggae music is a music that is heavily influenced by the principles of african liberation.
reggae music is fuled by the spirits of those african ancestors who died on the transatlantic voyage.
so it is that energy that speaks to many reggae musicians.. many listeners arent on that level or that energy doesnt match theirs.
.


Thanks for the thoughtful answer bigvein. However, Bob talked about things in his music that most people can't really relate with and still folks "sop" it up like porridge. How can this be explained?



"bob marley was able to tap into a frequency that is more universal.. chris blackwell knew that if you add instruments and sounds that resonate at a certain register, that the music would be more palatable. there is much research and science that goes into the music business. not only from a sales/marketing perspective but from a sound engineering perspective."


^^^This I can kind of get behind. I always felt that (although not quite obvious at first glance) the secret sauce to Bob Marley's music was the Barret brothers. I think they were the force that drove the "universal sound" of the Wailers. Hear me out here. What other Riddim section have been responsible for the greatest material to come from the artists they backed?

For example, Alpha Blondy's seminal album "Jerusalem" was with the Barret brothers. Peter Tosh's seminal album "Legalize it" was with the Barret brothers. Bunny's seminal album "Blackheart Man"...again with the Wailers. I even think Rita and Marcia's best tunes were with the Barret brothers backing. And then you have some fantastic works with Israel Vibes and on and on. Don't even get me started on all the hits the Barret brothers backed before they even joined the Wailers and were the Hippy Boys.

The Wailers experience was a complete package. It wasn't just Bob Marley. No way. No how. But I guess that's a discussion for another day?

But more to the heart of the question...why can't any other artists get near this level of success? I think there are folks who sing just a good as or better than Bob. There are artists who write just as good as or better than Bob, in my opinion. There are bands that are just as good as the Wailers. Well...maybe I went a little too far there, lol. Let me know what you guys think about this.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/2016 09:47PM by IamReggae.
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 12, 2016 09:42PM
Quote
rootsthroughsidewalks


This is kinda off topic, but I also was able to speak with some people who were there at the time and get confirmation that Peter Tosh was unaffectionately called the Barber in his later days because he used to go around cutting people's locks by force, thinking he was some sort of judge as to whether they a true Rasta or not. Some times ya learn the truth about a person and you gotta totally realign how you think about them.. Truth is truth, even if it don't feel good. Anyway, I first read about that on here, and was skeptical, so I had to bring it up with the right people in the right moment to find out for sure. I think it was one of your posts, BV. so big up yourself on that one if I'm remembering right.


This doesn't surprise me at all based on Peter's antics. After I read Keith Richard's book telling how Peter stayed at his villa in JA for an "extended" period of time and would not leave even when asked to do so. Supposedly he started calling Keith the "white devil" or something to that nature. I just know I would have been furious if someone treated me like that in kind after my generosity towards them. I had a different opinion of the man after that. Still love that Legalize it Album though!



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/12/2016 09:53PM by IamReggae.
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 12, 2016 10:06PM
I think in general Bob Marley fills their reggae cup, while reggae lovers drink from the river.

For the most part the common response is that it all sounds the same. They don't take the time to appreciate the subtle differences. Couple this with the language barrier; it takes time to keenly listen and understand.

Then you have the product, wrought with poor audio, poor accessibility and version after version of the same music. It takes a die-hard fan to sift through it and collect the gems that connects with them.
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 12, 2016 10:31PM
Quote
bun n cheese
Couple this with the language barrier; it takes time to keenly listen and understand.

yeah.. after 30 years of being a fan, its like listening to country.. i can understand the lyrics, references, phrases, without
having to stop and guess.
its an unconscious thing these days..
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 12, 2016 11:33PM
I have been basically a reggae only fan for more than a decade, thousands of songs in my playlist - not one Bob Marley song. I like heavy bass, heavy spiritual content and talented singing and players of instruments. Bob's music isnt bass heavy and although spiritually heavy has a catchy pop sound that is not for me.

Essentially it was midnite that got my attention and its had my attention since. I am much less much a reggae fan (you couldn't pay me to listen to most reggae) than I am a midnite fan which is in their own category. I do love roots, here are some my favorites:

-Israel Vibration
-Dezarie
-Linval thompson
-Marlon Asher
-Alpha Blondy
-Gregory Isaacs
-Groundation
-Horace Andy
-Ini Kamoze
-Ijahman Levi
-Don Carlos

A good way to think about your question is why do people eat fast food and meat when being vegan and eating healthy is an option? It comes down to the human condition and how humans survive through their personal struggles, the learning curve for roots reggae is harsh due to language and international differences but once you break through, its music heaven.

Giving thanks!
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 13, 2016 05:42AM
Me personally, I was into heavy music only. Like where Slayer and Megadeth was the mellow stuff. And hardcore gangster rap. The fluffy, poppish radio reggae had absolutely NO appeal to me. When I heard BM&TW's Survival, "Top Rankin' ", in particular, and then some other even heavier roots, something clicked. From that day on I have never cared to listen to death metal again. Rarely do I choose anything besides HEAVY roots. Still love classic rock, hip-hop, funk, motown, and eventually grew to enjoy the whole "One Love" movement of reggae. But my #1 choice of music is and will always be ROOTS REGGAE!

~Highest Heightz Every Time~
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 13, 2016 11:37AM
bigvein wrote"...at top levels, many productions have certain rituals performed on them before they are released.."

that's called mastering winking smiley
(joke)

besides the added rock session musicians that BV mentioned Bob had the giant push
from corporate rock label. that publicity juggernaut was taking out print./radio ads
wining and dining radio management etc touring with earth wing n fire popular acts
etc... the other roots jamaican artists never got this same treatment so remain unknown beyond the hardcore
fan. if you play lot's of reggae to a newbie it will all sound the same and like 1 long song
same as listening to say.. classical might be for you. fans of roots today will probably come
from some service like spotify where it suggests if you like (A) crappy pop song with reggaeish sound on radio right now
you may like (B ) ...
a
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 13, 2016 03:59PM
I always thought it was kind of funny how "newer" or "less informed"(aren't we all?) reggae fans often DONT like Bob.
Sometimes it seems almost cool to hate on BM. While I'm more of a minor key heavy roots and steppas kind of listener, I always get some Bob in!
Hes kind of like the Picasso of reggae, undoubtedly great, but by no means the definitive or only artist out there!
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 13, 2016 05:33PM
Quote
IamReggae

^^^This I can kind of get behind. I always felt that (although not quite obvious at first glance) the secret sauce to Bob Marley's music was the Barret brothers. I think they were the force that drove the "universal sound" of the Wailers. Hear me out here. What other Riddim section have been responsible for the greatest material to come from the artists they backed?

For example, Alpha Blondy's seminal album "Jerusalem" was with the Barret brothers. Peter Tosh's seminal album "Legalize it" was with the Barret brothers. Bunny's seminal album "Blackheart Man"...again with the Wailers. I even think Rita and Marcia's best tunes were with the Barret brothers backing. And then you have some fantastic works with Israel Vibes and on and on. Don't even get me started on all the hits the Barret brothers backed before they even joined the Wailers and were the Hippy Boys.

The Wailers experience was a complete package. It wasn't just Bob Marley. No way. No how. But I guess that's a discussion for another day?
.

Really good point. The Barret brothers gave the Wailers it's unique sound from the get-go. They were truly a force to be reckoned with.

Another thought is that Bob's song composition skills were incredible. By the time he got in to his later material, he hit a creative flow where almost every song had multiple progressions, dynamic chord changes, momentous bridges and breakdowns, and potent intro/outros. There were only a few other Reggae bands putting so much complexity in to the songwriting at the time, and there are barely any in existence now. (mostly thanks to mono-riddim culture).

This is something that the Wailer's music still has over most Reggae young and old. Sure, those of us who have found the magic within the rhythmic alchemy of reggae may enjoy a 2 chord skank heavy midnite style tune to the fullness, but to the unadjusted ear, those tunes come off as one long boring drone... Where as Bob's tunes have a way of keeping it interesting with changes every 30 seconds. I think these changes definitely gave the music more of a pop appeal at it's time then most other reggae.

It also comes to mind that Bob really didn't hit that huge level of stardom until a few years before he died... He probably never would have gotten there if he hadn't gone with the record companies suggestions of how to make the music more palatable for the masses. He's much bigger now than he ever was when he was alive. Part of that is because he created a timeless music with profound soul and meaning. Another part is because his life and image has been milked for every last dollar by anyone even remotely related to him since the day he died. Some of the ways he's marketed now, I wonder if he would have been okay with or not when he was alive. Nevertheless, it keeps him selling more albums than any other Reggae artist to this day. he's got his face on more crappy made in china lighters and t shirts than probably any pop culture icon past and present.
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 14, 2016 04:49AM
good reasoning still - but caution - lest ocd-analysis cause paralysis







Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/14/2016 05:10AM by Peacemakeya.
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 15, 2016 03:31PM
Quote
Peacemakeya
good reasoning still - but caution - lest ocd-analysis cause paralysis





Ha! No worries. I think I am just a little frustrated at the way things are going in the Reggae world. Not enough "varied" quality roots acts having success nowadays. :0/
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 17, 2016 05:10PM
"if you check the album 'catch a fire' in all songs bob tells the story of what he had to do to make it in the music business.
many people take the lyrics at face value or mis-interpet them. no sir, bob is telling his experience and what he had to
do for his fame.
bunny wont tell it, but there is a VERY good reason why after catch-a-fire the wailers disbanded.
i would also wager bunny didnt take the deal, which is why he is still alive today.
he says as much in some of his interviews. but its cloaked in a way that you if you are not listening you wont hear."


Well....I was one of those who heard Jamaican music by artists other than BM, but that is only a function of my age group. Millie Small's My Boy Lollipop and Desmond Dekker singing 'Israelites' caught my ear. And on first hearing Toots & The Maytals, I thought Otis Redding walked the earth once more. I actually dug Toots faster than the Wailers, but that comes from having a pretty southern-soul-centric upbringing. Once those Island LPs started rolling out I could see how impressive the Wailers were---too bad I wasn't able to hear the pre-Island recordings earlier!

Jamaica a well-funny place. It's also charged with deep Spirituality, a history of colonialism under Britain, and a population where many people decide to find employment and a life elsewhere---I've often thought that if there were enough jobs in JA, nobody would ever want to leave.

As far as why there are people who actually love Bob Marley's music, but for the most part could care less about the rest of reggae/ska/rocksteady/rub-a-dub/dancehall...well, Marley was the designated gatekeeper for 99% of those who hear Jamaican music the first time, and that is what appeals to their ears. it is, so to speak, the chair they are comfortable sitting in. I've quit wondering 'why?', but that's just me.
Re: How come EVERYONE loves B. Marley? But only die-hard fans love roots Reggae?
August 17, 2016 05:29PM
[www.18karatreggae.com]

Regarding Mr. Livingstone's view of Rita: it is important to realize that Bunny loved Bob probably more than any other human. Really. It is not too outlandish to say Bunny Wailer is obsessed by Bob Marley. As far as Rita,I've more than once said the following:

she ain't the first woman to steal from her dead husband, and she won't be the last.

Do I think Rita killed BM?? No. Do I think the CIA did? No. IMO Bob Marley died from cancer that was not aggressively treated. I would also recommend to all interested in BM to read the book his ex-manager Don Taylor wrote---quite a tell-all from an absolute hustler with his own agenda. It is useful to remember that when reading Taylor's words, but way too much of it rings true to me. Or in the words of Bunny Wailer himself, when asked by someone years ago if what Taylor claimed in Bob Marley And Me was accurate, 'well...maybe so.' The fact Taylor's very blunt and uncomplimentary remarks about Rita and Chris Blackwell have never been legally challenged by those capable of paying court costs to do so speaks volumes.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 08/17/2016 05:31PM by papa ray.
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