This month is the 40th anniversary of the release of Bob Marley’s magnificent Exodus album. The Exodus album was recorded in London a few short months after the assassination attempt on Bob in December 1976. Bob loved the people and the island of Jamaica, and he was heartbroken that there were people who wanted to see him dead. He went on a self-imposed exile to England at the suggestion of Chris Blackwell (founder of Island Music), where he was overjoyed to discover how much they loved his music.
To celebrate the album, the Marley family worked on putting together a special 40th anniversary edition of the album. Lead by the efforts of Bob’s eldest son, Ziggy, the album is being promoted as a restatement of the original album. Ziggy pored over the original session recordings to find never before heard vocal and instrumental takes and put them together with the utmost care and respect for his father’s music. When I first heard about this project, I was worried it would be your typical remastering cash grab. However, I could not have been more wrong, as it is far more than that. The album includes the original Exodus recordings, Ziggy’s new Exodus 40 mixes, and the best live recordings of every song from the original album. The Exodus 40 mixes are phenomenal, and although it sounds cliche, it really does feel like listening to the album again for the first time. That is an incredibly rare and amazing feeling to have, so I & I give thanks to the Marley family for this gift. If you are interested in some more details about the efforts behind this album restatement, check out the link below:
The album anniversary was also recognized in another very special way by the BBC. On David Rodigan’s weekly BBC 1Xtra show, they remade the Exodus album with hottest reggae stars in the industry. The tracks were recorded at various legendary studios across England and Jamaica, and the results were nothing short of phenomenal. The show starts off with a great interview with Chris Blackwell about the genesis of this album. The second half of the show has brief interviews with all the various artists he worked with to remake the album where they explain why they chose the song they did. You can listen to the full two hour show at the link below, although be warned, they only keep the shows up for streaming for about a month before they are taken down.
Luckily, if you want to skip all the interviews and just listen to the remade tracks, you can find them on YouTube:
“Natural Mystic” was covered by the legendary Sly & Robbie:
“So Much Things To Say” was covered by Cosima:
Chronixx chose to cover “Guiltiness”:
“Heathen” was covered by Protoje and his band the Indiggnation:
The cover of “Exodus” was a brilliantly stripped down version done by Dre Island who is a classically trained pianist:
The infectious track “Jamming” was covered by UK artist Kiko Bun:
One of my personal favourites, “Waiting In Vain” was done by Morgan Heritage:
Christopher Martin’s silky smooth vocals were put to use on “Turn Your Lights Down Low”:
An artist named Angel, who I am currently unfamiliar with, did a take on “Three Little Birds” at Anchor Studios:
And finally, brothers Stephen, Damian, and Julian took on the anthem “One Love”, although this audio was taken from the Glastonbury festival rather than a studio:
I hope everyone enjoyed the trip down memory lane with this fabulous album!