Update No. 25
Volume 3: Issue 6: July 2003

Billed as "the reggae event of the year", September 15th sees Trojan Records release Bob Marley & the Wailers classic 1979 performance at the Santa Barbara County Bowl for the first time on DVD.

The film, originally a 60 minute feature produced by Bill Phelps, has been extended to feature the whole concert, with extra, previously unreleased footage selected by Don Letts.

The DVD will feature remastered audio and visuals, an introduction and sleeve notes by author Chris Salewicz, fan interviews from the Sugar Ray Robinson Foundation Benefit Concert at the Roxy Theatre in November '79 and the previously unseen 54 minute documentry Prophecies & Messages, which features Tyrone Downey discussing Rastafari. A VHS video is issued on the same release date.

The Santa Barbara County Bowl offers a beautiful backdrop for this Wailers Survival tour performance. While Bob is noteably staid during much of the show, his vocals are wholly passionate as the band lay down a relaxed, mesmarising groove behind his masterful readings of the classics.

The track listing for the release is as follows:
Positive Vibration
Wake Up And Live
I Shot The Sheriff
Ambush In The Night
Concrete Jungle
Running Away/Crazy Baldhead
Them Belly Full
The Heathen
Ride Natty Ride
Africa Unite
One Drop
So Much Things To Say
Is This Love
Kinky Reggae
Stir It Up
Get Up Stand Up

For some strange reason, the medley of War/No More Trouble, which would ordinarily follow The Heathen is billed as a "bonus track" among the DVD extras.

Bob also gave a filmed interview backstage following the show, but it is unclear whether this appears in the accompanying documentry.

Speciaist book publisher Genesis, renowned for their lavish deluxe editions are to add a Bob Marley title to their extensive range of limited edition issues.

The book, given the working title of Bob Marley The Photographs of Kate Simon will feature previously unseen and rare pictures taken by the photographer between 1975 and 1981, with text contributions from Junior Marvin, Aston Barrett, Chris Blackwell, Danny Sims and more.

Kate Simon's archive of Wailers footage is complimented with definitive images of the likes of Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, Big Youth, Sly & Robbie, Toots Hibbert, Culture, Jacob Miller and many more. A preview of the book is available on-line at www.genesis- publications.com.

Review by Andy Clayden

Regarded by many as one of the finest performance the Wailers ever gave, and apparently one of Marley's own personal favourites, the 1976 Roxy Theatre show appeared on a double CD official release for the first time in June.

The first thing that many Wailers fans will be wondering is just why this double CD edition has appeared after the bulk of the show was released as part of the Rastaman Vibration deluxe set. With many a Marley fan feeling a little let down by the record companys continued drip feeding of rare and unreleased material, it will be understandable to hear further grumblings about this title. Such complaints however will be dealt with later, as this release deserves to be merited on it's own standing.

The show was recorded in Los Angeles on 26th May 1976, on the Californian leg of the Rastaman Vibration tour, and the Wailers band featured the guitar artistry of Earl Chinna Smith and Don Kinsey, whose bluesy licks offer a striking contrast to the later works of Al Anderson and Junior Marvin.

With the Rastaman Vibration album tip-toeing up the album chart, the Roxy show also attracted many showbiz star names among the audience, including a certain Bob Dylan. The performance, captured in superb quality on this release, would not disappoint, with fiery renditions of Burnin' & Lootin', Them Belly Full and Rat Race, and a beautifully contrasting reading of No Woman No Cry, that easily matches the released Lyceum '75 cut in terms of atmosphere.

What really draws one to this release however, is the previously un-issued encore, and most notabley the final medley of Get Up Stand Up/No More Trouble/War. Clocking in at a lengthy 23 minutes plus, this grand finale really captures Bob at the very peak of his performing prowess, as he twists in and out of the songs, mixing and matching the lyrics with on the spot improvisations while whipping the ecstatic crowd into a near frenzy. Ever the master showman, he closes the medley with a cheeky - yet entirely accurate - " I've got to go, but you don't want me to do so" couplet.

Although nicely packaged, with photos from the show gracing the front, back and inner sleeve, the lack of any liner notes is a major let down, especially when compared to the excellent job done by EMI on Peter Tosh's Live And Dangerous '76 release, with which this Marley CD can easily be weighed.

The Roxy '76 release is an essential purchase for Marley fans, but those already in posession of thre Rastaman Vibration deluxe set may be apprehensive about shelling out for much of the same again. The encore does make the extra outlay worth it however, but given that Island had apparently already planned this Roxy release even before it appeared on the deluxe edition, some fans can quite rightly feel slightly aggrieved.

With other performances from 1976 known to exist in the vaults, surely one of those should have been selected to appear on Rastman Vibration deluxe. The stand alone release of the Roxy show seriously undermines the validity of the deluxe edition, especially when you consider a few known version sides and rarities were omitted to accomodate the live section.

Following on from last months report that an unreleased Peter Tosh song was to appear on the new Junkie XL album, we can report that some confusion has emerged over Peter's actual involvement in the recording.

The track, entitled Sleepy Policeman appears to have some connection with Chris Hinze's Bamboo Reggae album, on which Tosh guested, but the remixed song on JXL's album features an unidentified vocal that is certainly not that of the former Wailer.

We would appreciate any information anyone may have regarding this oddity.

Previous Updates:
Number 24, June 2003

Number 23, May 2003    Number 22, April 2003

Number 21, March 2003    Number 20, February 2003

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