Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Albums That Defined My Musical Tastes – Bob Marley’s “Legend”

Reggae music is the sound of summer. My happy place is being on my sailboat on Lake Erie, anchored out for lunch with friends or family aboard, a cold beer in my hand, and Bob Marley playing on the stereo. Life is never better than during those moments and I treasure them every time they happen.

Reggae music was originally the sound of Jamaica, but the overwhelming popularity of reggae has spread far and wide over the years and you can hear reggae in pretty much any country on earth. Bob Marley and the Wailers were the biggest reason for this, and this global proliferation of Jamaican culture didn’t stop at reggae – it also included Rastafarianism, dreadlocks, and the love of the ganja weed. Additionally, there are massively popular offshoots of the reggae genre, such as dub, hip hop, dancehall, and reggaeton.

I really do not remember the first time I heard Bob Marley, but I do remember the last time – this week. And it’s always “this week”. There is no more popular go-to band in the Olson household than Bob Marley. When I think back to some of the most memorable times in my life, many of them were enjoyed to sounds of his music. I even started a reggae band last year with a bunch of friends and we jammed mainly Bob Marley tunes, buuuut we got too good too fast and the power and beauty of the music frightened us so much that we thought continuing on would lead to fame and fortune and jeopardize our regular lives, so we put that band in hiatus. Once we are ready as a group for this inevitable worldwide domination, we will be back.

To be honest, I have not dug deeply into the reggae genre, beyond other top shelf reggae artists such as Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, and Burning Spear. But with the advent of these amazing online streaming services, I usually just pull up one of the hundreds of reggae playlists, crank it up, and don’t have a clue who I am listening to most of the time. But it’s all good.

Bob Marley’s music has led me to plenty of other artists that may not be strictly reggae, but certainly are cut from the same cloth. A British artist named Finlay Quaye released an album in 1997 called “Maverick A Strike” and this could very well be my favourite album of all time across all genres. It’s that good. Jack Johnston’s lazy, playful, mellowed-out tunes are no stranger to our playlists. For something a little bit harder, I love Sean Paul’s reggaeton vibes and one of my favourite albums ever is “Emigrante” from Cuban band Orishas, which is kinda reggae and entirely amazing.

Now excuse me while I crack a cold one, light up a spleef, and cue some Bob!

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