Album Review: Bob Marley & The Wailers - Legend Remixed
Its a very serious challenge, to remix Legend, mainly since it is the second highest selling album worldwide of all time next to Pink Floyd, Dark Side of the Moon. Produced by Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley and Jason Bentley, the first thing one notes is that the sequence is changed. By virtue of the songs being remixed, so must the sequence.
Waiting In Vain remixed by Jim James of My Morning Jacket starts off this version of Legend and what is immediately apparent is that these vocal tracks, isolated, evoke an emotion like meeting an old friend again and picking up a topic you have in common, but on a deeper level. The songs use different tracks than those original, familiar final takes included on Legend, it‘s like an insider’s ear to what was happening in the studio when they were originally recorded.
Stephen Marley takes one of four turns at the console for Legend Remixed with Three Little Birds, developed with DJ/producer Jason Bentley of KCRW in Los Angeles. It serves as the anthem for Hyundai’s new suite of features that allow drivers to enjoy a stress-free ownership experience. Apparently Hyundai also supported the creation of the “Making of Legend Remixed” documentary, a short film featuring interviews with the Marley family and the musicians and remixers involved. The song itself has a very Melody Makers feel, and features samples of Carlton Barrett’s drum tracks.
Could You Be Loved by RAC has great outtakes, with Bob’s 1-2-3 intro, the “1” replaced by “Come now” and ambient noise from the studio musicians. This is a sort of Afro-Beat, guitar-centered version with a new bassline. Bob’s vocal tracks here sing the variation “It’s good to be loved” with a haunting, spartan mix, and, “Can you be love? And Be Loved?” An abrupt switch to a fragment of the tune Chant Down Babylon and another "1-2" close the tune. These outtakes are taken from the Criteria Rehearsals filmed by Neville Garrick back in 1980.
The Thievery Corporation is extremely suited to this type of project, and their version of Get Up Stand Up soars as “Now we see the light,” is looped, Peter Tosh’s vocals stand out more in the mix, and a new interpretation of the bass line is divinely seasoned with soundsystem effects. It‘s head bopping with a sweet mixdown, Bob and Peter trading lines in the front.
Roni Size supremely remixed I Shot the Sheriff, coming in at 6 minutes. Carlton Barrett’s drums are given the spotlight between a heavy drum and bass jungle mix, and the lyrical storyline is transposed a bit - the sense of him telling us of his misfortune almost conversational here when the lines are rearranged.
Stephen takes on Easy Skanking with an amazing alternative take of Bob’s vocals, especially the iconic, “Excuse me while I light my spliff” and iyatta patois version that sings, “Herb for I wine, honey for I strong drink”.
Ziggy’s Redemption Song has a true Nyabinghi style drum track running through it as well as mento-flavoured guitars and harmonica. Its a loving tribute to this songwriter and performer - evocative, redemptive and patriotic, like Jamaica and the Diaspora’s love note from Bob’s ever-living spirit.
Is This Love was released as a single, remixed by Jason Bentley, it uses a quote from Bob who speaks, “Know good music, different music, good vibrations” as a type of calling card for the remix project. This a strong dance groove, the “willing and able” looped to keep you moving!
Reggae veteran guest, Lee “Scratch” Perry appears on what was his original Black Ark studio tune, Punky Reggae Party where he meets Z Trip, to “take a joyful sound.” He intros the song saying, “Z Trip, Run the Track” and during the song announces, “Lee Perry... professional, Admiral, General”...and “a powerful song, you bring back the fun.” Using vinyl scratching effects and a scratched “Punky” vocal make this a fun tune indeed. The driving Barrett bass line is re-interpreted, with Perry interspersing his own oddities.
Although there are no straight up hip hop and reggae producers remixing these tunes (besides the Marley’s themselves), it is an ambitious record and leaves a lot to ruminate over.
Listen to the full album below:
Bob Marley & The Wailers - Legend Remixed
DIGITAL RELEASE / CD / VINYL [Universal]
Release date: 06/25/2013
01. Waiting In Vain (Jim James Remix)
02. Stir It Up (Ziggy Marley Remix)
03. Three Little Birds (Stephen Marley & Jason Bentley Remix)
04. Could You Be Loved (RAC Remix)
05. No Woman No Cry (Stephen Marley Remix)
06. Get Up Stand Up (Thievery Corporation Remix)
07. Satisfy My Soul (Beats Antique Remix)
08. I Shot The Sheriff (Roni Size Remix)
09. Exodus (Pretty Lights Remix)
10. Easy Skanking (Stephen Marley Remix)
11. One Love/People Get Ready (Photek Remix)
12. Redemption Song (Ziggy Marley Remix)
13. Is This Love (Jason Bentley Remix)
14. Jamming (Nickodemus & Zeb Remix)
15. Punky Reggae Party (Z-Trip Remix feat. Lee 'Scratch' Perry)
16. Buffalo Soldier (Stephen Marley Remix)