Thursday, April 19, 2012

Bus Tour: Bob Marley

Bob Marley

The first serious and seriously good concert I attended was 33 years ago. Bob Marley and Wailers at Northrup Auditorium on the campus of the University of Minnesota. 

I used to cook in a greasy spoon open-all-night campus café with a guy who worked in a local record shop, named Ned.  He had an amazing and eclectic record collection and will always be remembered as the guy who introduced me to such artists as Fela, The Flamin’ Groovies and The Bonzo Doo Dog Band.  One late Saturday night when we were both covered in flour (our café’s speciality was pizza that in the immortal words of one reviewer tasted like ‘it had been scraped off the carpet’) Ned told me that Bob Marley was coming to town soon.

I had never heard the name. “What kind of music?” I asked.

“Reggae,” Ned said.


“Just come along.”

I did and wow, what a night. We sat right in front the light board from which clouds of ganja smoke drifted through our heads. Bob raced and jumped back and forth across the stage, his dreadlocks covering his face all the time. The I Threes swayed and cooed throughout and the band sizzled like a bbq in the desert.  A new world opened before me. How, I wondered, have I not heard this groovy music before?

I recently listened to tonight’s selection, Babylon by Bus, which was issued around the same time as the concert I attended. It deserves all 5 stars awarded by so many critics. The sound is crisp, the band is tight and Marley simply bristles with energy.  Exactly as I remember.

Some say this is the best live reggae record ever made. Who knows. But God, it is exciting! Give it a spin. It will get your blood flowing.

            Track Listing:
            01 Positive Vibration
02 Punky Reggae Party
03 Exodus
04 Stir It Up
05 Rat Race
06 Concrete Jungle
07 Kinky Reggae
08 Lively Up Yourself
09 Rebel Music
10 War/No More Trouble
11 Is This Love
12 Heathen
13 Jamming

Listen here.


Anonymous said...

Greetings from Minnesota! I appreciate what you do, and enjoy your writing. I'm over in St. Paul, and was tickled to hear about your time in Minneapolis. I would have been about eleven years old at the time you went to the Bob Marley concert, and would have been on the verge of buying my first piece of vinyl at about that age. Nice to hear from you.

ajnabi said...

Hi, Where did you buy the vinyl? At a mall or one of the good record stores!? I miss Minnesota. Family roots and great memories of my 11 years there as a student. I even miss the winter! I'll have to dig out some more Minnesota music!
Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

I bought my first album at Cheapo Records--the first Cheapo Records, when it was on Grand Ave. in St. Paul, by Macalester College. I believe it was "The Doors' Greatest Hits." But for years my regular record stores were "Northern Lights" on University Ave. in St Paul and "Let it Be" on Nicollet Ave. in Minneapolis. Funny--of the few pieces of vinyl that I still own, I was looking at one yesterday, "Zen Arcade" by Husker Du. Take care, Tedd from St. Paul

ajnabi said...

Hi Tedd,
What a blast to be reminded of all those stores! I remember Northern Lights being advertised on radio and of course CheapO was always prominent in the music and alternative press (Reader). My own locals were Positively 4th Street, Wax Museum and a couple others around Lake Street whose names escape me now! I just found a Wax Museum here in Melbourne! Great names never die I guess. Great to make your friendship and I think I'll post something from those days again, later tonight! Take care, mate. Long Live the Twin Cities!