TWENTY-FIVE YEARS AND COUNTING…
It's been 25 years and counting this year that the world put to rest the Music Warrior, the Man who wedges a war single-handedly with music, the Man who sounds like a war onstage.
In the summer of 2005, it was announced with fanfare that an unheard of single was found in the bottomless vaults of the Marley Family. It was going to be released later in November.
At first, I feared the Marley estate was spinning its powerful dollar wheels again as it has become fashionable and customary in the running of the multinationals that have become the estates of departed singers who have attained the superstardom status of “Legends”.
Have your pick! After all, we live in a world where dead entertainers make more money than the living ones.
Bob Marley left just 10 albums and a myriad of singles. Over a quarter of a century, his estate has remixed and re-mastered them. His first five albums have been re-released in a re-mastered version to meet up to the standards of today's sound technology. Fair enough.
Once they were done with that, they re-remixed the remixes and re-re-mastered them, just in case some of us out here didn't get them the first time around.
After that, the duets began. His son Stephen convinced a couple of opportunists, all ready to hop on the Marley bandwagon to make a quick buck.
The excuse was to introduce Marley to the new generations as if Marley needs to be introduced to anybody.
It spanned from a half-crazed daughter-in-law Marley never met in his lifetime to troubled hip-hop and r&b performers to has-been rock stars.
And saving the worst for last, he duetted with a dead and obese gangsta rap king of bling-bling!
Marley's 10 albums have generated over 25 years a horrifying population of clones and sound-alikes under the wise and supervised orchestration of his estate that has cashed dollars all the way in the 7-figure bracket and are laughing all the way to the bank. Rita Marley has a terrific smile.
And then came “Slogans”.
I sat down with an open mind and spirit, and I was baffled. I got thrown off my chair by the realism and the humanity of its simple lyrics that describe nowadays events with so much sharpness and accuracy. The song was written in 1979.
Marley describes with his trademark clairvoyance all the plagues that so painfully and inhumanely scarred this first decade of the new century: the Katrina and the Tsunami devastation; the genocide in Darfur; the riots in France; the war in Irak; the showdown with Iran; hunger and homelessness in the world.
No estate however rich and greedy can tarnish the good name of a good man. I refused to buy the cd “Africa Unite” released just for the sake of selling “Slogans” the only novelty with 19 other “standards” re-hashed and re-chewed in so many prior releases that I have long lost count. I bought the single instead.
Will.I.Am from the Black Eyed Peas should be shot for his assassination of “Africa Unite”. I guess he wasn't born yet when the original was released, he would otherwise have known better. You can't better perfection.
Bob Marley is alive and well, see for yourself, here is “Slogans”:
Can't take your slogans no more (4x)
Wipe out the paintings of slogans
All over the streets
Confusing the people
While your asphalt burn our tired feet
I see borders and barriers
Segregation, demonstration and riots
The sufferation of the refugees
When will we be free?
We can't take your slogans no more
Can't take your slogans no more
No more sweet talk from a pulpit
No more sweet talk from the hypocrites
So we know we can't take your slogans no more
Can't take your slogans no more (2x)
No more sweet talk from the pulpit
No more sweet talk from the hypocrites
Keep your eyes and ears open,
“Though I try to find the answer
To all the questions they ask
Many more will have to suffer
Many more will have to die
Don't ask me why”
By Paula (NFC)