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Thursday, July 4, 2013

Review of Bob Marley's Legend Remixed

When I first heard that there were plans to come out with a remixed version of Bob Marley's classic album Legend, my first thought was, 'why mess with something that doesn't need fixing'?  However, after listening to Legend Remixed I have to admit that overall, I was pleasantly surprised.  There were a few stumbling blocks for me but in the grand scheme of things it is a really nice album.

The album was produced by Ziggy Marley, Stephen Marley, and Jason Bentley, and features production help from reggae heavy-hitters such as Z-Trip with Lee "Scratch" Perry, Jim James from My Morning Jacket, Pretty Lights, and Thievery Corporation.

Standout tracks on the album include "Stir It Up", remixed by Ziggy Marley, "Get Up, Stand Up" remixed by Thievery Corporation, and "Easy Skanking", remixed by Stephen Marley, all of which are really impressive dub-flavored renditions of the original songs.  Another surprising gem was Nickodemus and Zeb's remix of "Jamming", which has a bit of a dub sound, but with a little bit of a house beat thrown into it to twist things up. Stephen Marley also did a nice job with "Buffalo Soldier", adding a heavy synth beat that works surprisingly well.

The songs that I had the hardest time with are Stephen Marley's remix of "No Woman No Cry", and Ziggy Marley's remix of "Redemption Song". Perhaps I am biased because these are two of my all-time favorite songs from Brother Bob, however, I felt that they just veered too far away from the original vibe of the songs.  These two songs epitomize the meaning of the phrase, 'don't mess with perfection'.  These tracks were not flawed to begin with, they worked with the poignant lyrics, the simplicity of the melody, and Bob's voice shining through, with no help needed at all.  The songs that worked best on this album, in my opinion, were the ones that kept the original flavor of the songs while adding a new twist.  "No Woman No Cry" and "Redemption Song" both had different twists, but at the expense of the original perfection of the songs.

 Classic songs and albums are often re-mastered or remixed to introduce them to new generations of listeners, however, Bob Marley's music needs no reintroduction because it has never gone away.  His songs remain some of the most recognizable tunes in the world and with a crew of talented offspring who seem to channel his spirit in their own artistic efforts, there is no chance of his music fading away.  Legend Remixed offers a new interpretation of an impeccable album and is another example of the Marley sons working to make sure that their iconic father retains his role in musical history as a true legend.  Their voices are so hauntingly similar to their father's that despite synth, house, or dub beats, his stamp is undeniably there.  It is easy to listen to this album and imagine him smiling down on them in the studio.  Whether remixed, remastered, or left alone, his is genius is truly Legend.

Legend Remixed (Island/Tuff Gong/UME)

1. Is This Love (Jason Bentley Remix)
2. No Woman No Cry (Stephen Marley Remix)
3. Could You Be Loved (RAC Remix)
4. Three Little Birds (Stephen Marley and Jason Bentley Remix)
5. Buffalo Soldier (Stephen Marley Remix)
6. Get Up Stand Up (Thievery Corporation Remix)
7. Stir It Up (Ziggy Marley Remix)
8. Easy Skanking (Stephen Marley Remix)
9. One Love/People Get Ready (Photek Remix)
10. I Shot the Sheriff (Roni Size Remix)
11. Waiting in Vain (Jim James Remix)
12. Redemption Song (Ziggy Marley Remix)
13. Satisfy My Soul (Beats Antique Remix)
14. Exodus (Pretty Lights Remix)
15. Jamming (Nickodemus and Zeb Remix)
16. Punky Reggae Party (Z-Trip Remix featuring Lee "Scratch" Perry)


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