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From the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.

Catch A Fire

Bob Marley & The Wailers

1973

Buy At Rough Trade
Catch A Fire
Album Summary

Catch a Fire is the fifth studio album by the reggae band The Wailers aka Bob Marley and the Wailers, released in April 1973. It was their first album released by Island Records. After finishing a tour in the United Kingdom with Johnny Nashwhere they had started laying the tracks for JAD Records when a disputed CBS contract with Danny Simms created tensions , the band did not have enough money to return to Jamaica; their road manager Brent Clarke approached producer Chris Blackwell, who agreed to advance The Wailers money for an album which they used to pay their fares back home, where they completed the recordings Catch a Fire. The album has nine songs, two of which were written and composed by Peter Tosh, the remaining seven were by Bob Marley. While Bunny Wailer is not credited as a writer, their writing style was a collective process . For the immediate follow up album “Burnin” also released in 1973 he contributed four songs. After Marley returned with the tapes to London, Blackwell reworked the tracks at Island Studios with contributions by Muscle Shoals session musician Wayne Perkins, who played guitar on three overdubbed tracks. The album had a limited original release under the name The Wailers in a sleeve depicting a Zippo lighter, designed by graphic artists Rod Dyer and Bob Weiner; subsequent releases had an alternative cover designed by John Bonis featuring an Esther Anderson portrait of Marley smoking a "spliff", and used their alternative title Bob Marley and the Wailers. The Catch a Fire Tour, which covered England and the United States, helped generate international interest in the band. Catch a Fire peaked at number 171 on the Billboard 200 and number 51 on the Billboard Black Albums charts. Critical acclaim has included the album being listed at number 126 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time, second only to Legend among five Bob Marley albums on the list. It is regarded as one of the top reggae albums of all time. The group title “Bob Marley & The Wailers” being used on Bob Marley solo albums has created a lot of marketing and identity confusion for The Wailers catalog. It follows the confusion generated from their company Tuff Gong Records registered in 1973 and Tuff Gong International registered by the Bob Marley Estate in 1991 that resulted in the 1999 Tuff Gong Settlement Agreement that sought to separate the group catalog from the Bob Marley solo catalog. Catch A Fire album dual releases under both group titles is where this marketing confusion began.

Wikipedia

Rating

3.67

Votes

12241
Genres
Reggae

Reviews

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Mon May 16 2022
5

What a great album. Marley has an uncanny ability to write scathing social commentary and put it to music that just feels good. There's anger and frustration here but it's mixed with enough joy to stay sweet. The result is so balanced that I find myself digesting the message without any of the jaded defensiveness that "message" albums often provoke. It's great. Marley and his Wailers were brilliant.

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Mon Jul 31 2023
5

I came into this album mildly interested. I listened to Bob Marley a lot when I was younger, and my lasting impression was pleasant, political, fun. Good background, maybe. In other words… I was wholly unprepared for the 40 minutes I was about to get. This time, I decided to listen a little closer to the musicianship, get a sense of what is going on in the background. And let me tell you. These players are…. So. Fucking. Locked. They are locked like a locomotive. They’re not going anywhere. When you look up “pocket” in the encyclopedia it should be the smiling face of that clav player on Track 1. Unbelievable. This is how you start a reggae band, folks. You hear some music that is so unbelievably locked like this and you think maybe, just maybe we can pull this off. Well you probably can’t. Don’t let it stop you, but… the level of locked and loaded on these rhythm parts puts most other reggae and ska to shame. To shame. That’s how high the heights are here. This kind of rhythm is so infectious. I was having a hugely fun time. I am thankful this exists, and it is no longer background music to me. It is music music. I am going to evangelize to all my music friends. They’ll think… “Jacob, aren’t you’re exactly 50 years too late?” Fuck I don’t care. 5/5

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Wed Jan 20 2021
5

The only Bob Marley album I had ever heard before this was the greatest hits. And I have to say this album was on par with that. A great collection of songs that are political and beautiful. I really liked this one.

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Mon Apr 05 2021
5

Not even close to my fave BMATW album but still worthy of full marks. So much political struggle coursing through this album, broken up by amazing love songs like ‘Baby we’ve got a date’ and ‘Stir It Up’. Love that Rita Marley and Marcia Griffiths are on the backing vocals of Stir it Up. Peter Tosh also deserves a notable mention. ‘Stop that Train’ is a tune. BMATW were by no means a one man band as many believe

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Tue Sep 21 2021
5

I think this is an underrated one by Bob. High Tide or Low Tide may be my favorite Bob Marley that no one ever talks about.

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Mon Apr 10 2023
5

Believe it or not, when I was in my early twenties, I had dreadlocks and around five different Bob Marley t-shirts in frequent rotation. I didn’t even know much of his music, but I really leaned into that look. Bid odd that, innit? Songs I already knew: none Favourites: Concrete Jungle, Stop That Train, All Day All Night From the start of the opening track until the closing seconds of the finale, this album brought me happiness. I was swaying my head with a smile of my face and having a generally nice time. The songs all do sound somewhat similar to each other, so if you simply don’t like reggae then you won’t find much here for you, but if you’re open to it then this album is fantastic from front to back. There are catchy hooks everywhere and you’ll find yourself humming along to songs you may have never even heard before. Overall, an essential listen. I loved this.

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Wed Oct 06 2021
4

A classic album...but not my favourite. Concrete Jungle and Stir it Up are stone cold classics and the other songs are not far behind. You can't go wrong rolling up a fat one and putting this great album on the turntable. 4.5 stars

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Mon Mar 06 2023
1

I really don't understand how people can enjoy this drivel. Sure, it's not as aggravatingly painful to the ears as other 1's on my list. But it's soooooo boring that having it on drives me absolutely insane - as compared to silence which is massively more interesting. I wasn't able to stand half of any of the first five songs. Gosh, I really hate Bob Marley. Even if I were stoned out of my mind this wouldn't be anywhere near listenable.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

the zippo lighter album (which you can open!)cover puts this in the same genre as TLT Scratch n Sniff EP! Love how there is a bit of R&B/Motown in a few songs (High Tide/Low Tide) - also dig Tosh's lead vocals on Stop that Train.

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Mon Dec 13 2021
5

Classic album. Timeless production.

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Thu Oct 06 2022
5

Excellent album(s). I had listened to the original 1973 a few times before. But theres a 2001 version with a different track listing. Both are extraordinary. Greasy, groovy, moody, cool. The music is tight, era defining and unparalleled as far as reggae goes anyway. The lyrics are incisive, precise, enigmatic. Very listenable and there's nothing quite like this album, even in the Wailers back catalogue. A unique, edgy, exciting album I would always always recommend.

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Thu Jan 12 2023
5

I presumed all reggae sounded the same - I was very wrong, this album is coherent and full of individual crackers. Brilliant rhythms and artistry on display. Lots of complexity in the lyrics. Reminds me a lot of Tabac in Liverpool, they had reggae on repeat but at the stage of the evening we ended up there, I wasn't using my ears. Concrete Jungle, No More Trouble, High Tide or Low Tide - all great. Despite Kinky Reggae being a misstep, 5 stars feels deserved.

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Sat Feb 11 2023
5

Reggae arrives back on the list and demolishes my nitpicks about the other records. There are undoubtedly imperfections to listen for here, but Catch a Fire is my clear favorite Marley project so far. Its genius lies in the constant synthesis of something else by the band, a different something for each track. But the cribbing isn't because the core is bad: Mood comes across the wire perfectly; The album is a gem.

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Tue Feb 28 2023
5

A moodier, more downbeat Bob Marley album, but absolutely timeless and beautifully done. The songwriting is excellent, as always with these guys, weaving political themes into beautiful, soft melodies. The production is amazing, and these guys were such good musicians. An underrated album and a pleasure to listen to. 5/5

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Wed Jan 13 2021
4

Enjoyably relaxing vibe to this one; impressive to think it's from 1979 and must be a precursor to so much of what we currently know as reggae. Lovely lyrical content about struggles with oppression and pain, using love and light to be strong in the face of these challenges. Great smoking/relaxing/conversation tunes. Far prefer the second disc with it's more full-band sound to the stripped-back first disc. Many of the same songs gained a whole new colour and character with more players on the track.

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Tue Jul 20 2021
4

Always love me some reggae! Bob Marley is the king of cool, the sultan of swag, the regent of relaxation. Him and his wailers are perfect for any outdoor setting or even indoor if your main objective is to relax and feel like you are close to an ocean or beach or beer.

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Fri Oct 08 2021
4

I don't like reggae as a rule. Partially because I attach it to some potheads I knew as a kid that I never really understood. And also because I didn't have a terribly struggle-filled upbringing, so I was attracted to darker stuff - or at least stuff that wore its darkness on its sleeve. But also because reggae tends to sound very samesy to me, probably the way hip hop sounds very samesy to someone who doesn't listen to it much. That being said, this album got to me. Stir It Up is a great song.

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Fri Oct 29 2021
4

Ok Bob Marley. As I am a New Zealander, the entire oeuvre of the Wailers are practically the national anthem of this fair country. Yet despite that, the only song I knew prior was "Stir It Up", a conception song. The album was a lot more varied and interesting then I was expecting. The side A songs that delve into slave history were particularly powerful. But there is also the side B reminder that Bob Marley was quite the rooter. I get why this album is on the list. It feels like a record that is both influential but holds up as an artwork, and also enjoyable.

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Sat Dec 18 2021
4

Classic really. Seriously groovy baselines from “Family Man” and, even though there’s only so much you can do with reggae, the songwriting and production on this album keeps everything fresh - there are 3 or 4 proper ear worms on this album.

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Thu Dec 30 2021
4

This is the first original album by Bob Marley and the Wailers I've heard (aside from "Legend".) While the band don't stray from their formula musically, there's some really strong material here with a broad range of emotion behind it. "Concrete Jungle" shuffles forward, with the clavichord effectively adding to a sleazy atmosphere and searing lead guitar rounding off the mix. Alluding to the slave trade and racism, the lyrical material is much more politically charged than the side of Marley's work I'd heard before. But throughout, the Wailers prioritise a laid back, mellow feel, with Marley's vocal never rising into a rasp, howl or bellow. They allow the strong social conscience of each song to play itself out, coming to the fore with lyrics like "No chains around my feet but I'm not free" and "today they say that we are free; only to be chained in poverty." It's powerful content and sadly hasn't aged a day. In contrast, the middle of the album shows the band at their most romantic: while "Baby We've Got A Date" presents the carefree joy of being in love, "Stir It Up" is the real classic. One of the band's best known songs, it is sublime: a slow burning, slow dancing beauty. Following "Stir It Up", none of the songs really lived up to those in the first half of the album, though I'm prepared to give them more time. It's an enjoyable album, particularly for a certain mood, and has made me keen to explore more of the Wailers' work.

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Tue Jan 04 2022
4

It's 11º outside as I listen to this. This Marley album takes me to the beach for a warm respite from reality. The only song from BMs Greatest Hits whose picture hung on every college student's wall - Stir it Up is one of Bob's better known songs and pairs well with the rest of the album. It's nice to hear some Bob Marley I'm unfamiliar with. 4/5

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Tue Mar 08 2022
4

How do these crazy talent-vortices spontaneously form? A bunch of kids get together and shortly are defining some swath of a major genre. And then again tragedy is so often looming over it, and is that some dark part of it. It’s a bad old world.

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Sat Mar 09 2024
4

Боб Марли - это наш слоняра

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Sat Oct 23 2021
3

Robert réussit l'exploit de nous servir un album de Bob Marley ne contenant aucun tube. C'est déjà difficile d'écouter du reggae, alors quand il s'agit d'un projet dont on a rien de particulier à attendre, c'est carrément l'enfer.

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Tue May 11 2021
2

Favourite songs- High Tide or Low Tide, Stir it Up

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Tue Jun 13 2023
2

This is sadly not the long-hoped-for revelation: most reggae bores me, feels lacking until the heavy dub effects and weirdness are pasted on top. The first track showed promise, which I now realise was because my rockist ears had picked up the overdub of Wayne Perkins guitar, transported from a different, funkier scene. This is not a bad record, just not for me right now. Perhaps never for me.

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Tue Jun 13 2023
2

Pot has never been my thing. It doesn't agree with me. Neither does Bob Marley. I'm more of a coke person. Don't judge.

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Mon Mar 28 2022
1

This is music, so I have to allot one star for that but ... really, "I hate reggae music, I hate it..."

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Tue Jun 13 2023
1

Didn't hate this as much as the other one. Still sounds juvenile and boring as hell. Never want to hear it, or anything like it, again

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Fri Jun 04 2021
5

I loved this. I love Bob Marley and the Wailers. This is a classic. Something I will listen to again.

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Mon Oct 05 2020
5

I liked this album a lot, surprisingly. The music itself sounded so rich and beautiful. I found it easy to relate and empathize with what they were talking about. All around just a really chill yet moving album.

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Thu Jan 14 2021
5

love it - the production is so clear and songs are so upbeat and stirring.

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Sat Jan 23 2021
5

Better than the colonizers want you to know.

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Thu Mar 04 2021
5

Classic. Always love to listen to Marley

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Wed Jan 13 2021
5

One of my personal favorite albums of all time. Can’t wait to re listen.

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Fri Jan 22 2021
5

One of my all time favorites

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Mon Jan 18 2021
5

Me ha encantado, con ritmo y tranquilas para trabajar.

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Thu Mar 25 2021
5

Fantastically classic. Bob and Pete have incredible songwriting synergy. Very great.

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Thu Feb 11 2021
5

Mellow and easy to listen to

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Mon Apr 05 2021
5

So many classic songs on one album. And then you think of all the ones that aren't on it.

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Mon Apr 05 2021
5

Excellent album. Not sure if it's the best Bob Marley album. If it isn't, I'll give that album 5 stars too. 9/10

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Mon Apr 05 2021
5

Loved this. Listened twice in the sun. So much vibes.

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Thu Apr 15 2021
5

Love Bob. Good music for cruising or hanging out on the beach. High Tide or Low Tide is probably my favorite.

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Wed Jun 16 2021
5

Amazing reggae album. Bob Marley is a legend, no doubt.

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Mon May 10 2021
5

Great album. I don't listen to a lot of reggae, but I could definitely appreciate this one.

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Mon Jun 21 2021
5

- surprising variety of beat / melody - genuinely making me smile - lots of solid songs, this one is going into the rotation

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Wed Aug 18 2021
5

Concrete Jungle and Stop That Train are solid Bob hits, even if they arent the cultural juggernaut that some of his other songs are. Stir It Up is in that pantheon of greatest grooves ever conceived. Midnight Ravers kicks ass.

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Thu Sep 23 2021
5

High tide or low tide was always one of my favorites.

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Tue Oct 19 2021
5

An absolute classic album. Defines reggae for me. 4.75 🌟

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Tue Dec 14 2021
5

Un dels millors discos de reggae de la història. He escoltat la versió jamaïcana, no la més comercial publicada el seu dia. Té un toc més chill, més laidback que encara fa més justícia a les cançons. De tant escoltar-les algunes han perdut una petita part de la seva força, i fer-ho un 27 de desembre (2021) sembla contradir l'esperit del disc, però encara en aquestes condicions continua sent un 5 estrelles

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Sat Jan 01 2022
5

This is our Hogmanay listening! I really enjoyed this and have added it to my playlist. I can’t believe I’ve never listened to it before.

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Sat Jan 01 2022
5

Very fun to listen to this while getting ready for a New Year's Celebration. It's somehow both upbeat and relaxing. Stir It Up will always be one of my favorite songs of all time.

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Sat Jan 01 2022
5

When it comes to reggae, you can't be Bob Marley. Right from the first notes to the end of the album this record rocks. The bass lines and rhythms are infectious and the guitar solos have real feeling, as does the singing. This album also has Peter Tosh, another great talent who died too young.

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Wed Jan 05 2022
5

Love it….saw him live 1979 Honolulu(got pics)…just great feel good music with a message..

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Sat Feb 12 2022
5

Classic album. Great songs -goes way beyond its genre and probably one of the best albums ever made.

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Fri Feb 25 2022
5

Good stuff. Jsuis pas fan de reggae, d'ailleurs je préfère sa période "rock steady" encore avant 1974, mais ça passe crême.

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Tue Mar 01 2022
5

Amazing album. Reggae by the master.

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Mon Nov 29 2021
5

My favorite Bob Marley and the Wailers album.

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Sat Apr 16 2022
5

Though my favorite Wailers album is probably "African Herbsman," this and "Burnin'" are really well recorded and have such a rich and spacious sound. An incredibly talented group. I only wish they could've lasted longer together. The Beatles of Reggae.

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Sat Apr 30 2022
5

this album is too good to rate Bob Marley has gotta be on of my favorite musicians and listening to the deluxe version of this amazing album should make him one of your favorites too I actually enjoyed the jamaican versions more than the originals with my favorite probably being No More Trouble (Jamaican Version) like they really just made a song (an album, really) that slaps as hard as modern hip-hop way back in the early 70’s

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Wed May 04 2022
5

As good a reggae record as I've ever heard. The Tosh songs are faves among almost uniformly excellent tracks. Nothing not to like here.

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Sun May 15 2022
5

Классика жанра. Ямайская версия альбома просто супер!

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Fri Jul 01 2022
5

Marley/the Wailers have better albums, but this is still a great collection. Musically it's just so rich and soulful. The mixture of the personal and the political is always interesting in the band's work. They always give you food for thought, delivered so sweetly. Although I prefer political Marley to love songs Marley,, "Stir It Up" is just one of the loveliest songs I've ever heard. Fave Songs (All songs, from most to least favorite, "released album"): No More Trouble, Midnight Ravers, Stir It Up, Kinky Reggae, Concrete Jungle, Slave Driver, 400 Years, Stop That Train, Baby We've Got a Date (Rock It Baby)

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Thu Jul 14 2022
5

I'd never listened to a Bob Marley album, and I'm glad my first was this one. What a glorious, gorgeous record. I'm going to play it every morning of my vacation next week. Added with pleasure.

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Fri Aug 19 2022
5

Great classic reggae from Bob Marley and the Wailers. Every track is a great example of reggae.

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Sat Aug 27 2022
5

Solid Bob album - maybe his best

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Sat Sep 03 2022
5

Me gusta mucho el reggae y Bob Marley es una leyenda por una razón.

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Fri Sep 09 2022
5

Bob Marley, nothing else to say. Legend

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Fri Sep 09 2022
5

Un disco increible, como todos los que grabó Marley, sin dudas hay que escucharlo antes de morir!

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Tue Oct 11 2022
5

I love it! short and beautiful - except for the obvious, I especially enjoyed the guitar playing throughout the album, with interesting chord progressions. Will definitely play this one more often. 4.5/5

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Fri Oct 14 2022
5

Peter Tosh's songs stand out along with "High Tide Or Low Tide" on the expanded version.

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