You can’t go wrong with Bob Marley. This jamaican singer/songwriter and musician has, along with friends The Wailers, achieved international recognition and fame by introducing the world to accessible, and truly awesome, reggay albums. Bob Marley left us way too quickly in 1981, due to cancer. He remains nevertheless one of the biggest international stars, and one of the most beloved and charismatic figures in music. His lyrics address topics such as social justice, love (romantic love, yes, but mostly love of your fellow man), and spirituality.
You really just can’t go wrong with Bob Marley! This wonderful music is never irritating and it lifts the mood. But now listen, this is very important: if you only heard the “Legend” CD, a world of wonders awaits you! Maybe it’s because “Legend” was so overplayed, but I hardly ever listen to that album (I still like “Jamming” though).
Easy listening music. Enjoy!
Man, it is cold out. Polar vortex, you say? While Stephen Colbert wears a huge red winter coat over his perfectly pressed suit, I intend to keep warm today by listening to Ben Harper’s “Fight For Your Mind”. And perhaps a few other songs from Ben Harper. I am ashamed to say that I know only a little about his music aside from “Fight for your mind” which I have listened to intensely. The Bob Marley fan that I am loves how it starts, with the smooth reggay-infused “Oppression”. And then, the good stuff just keeps coming: Another Lonely Day, Burn One Down, Excuse Me Mr., People Lead, Power of the Gospel, God Fearing Man, … This album’s got mature, socially-conscious lyrics, musical and vocal prowess… another cool album of the 90’s.
I found a Montréal 1996 concert that I just had to put a link to. I also added a live performance of the simple yet wonderful “Another Lonely Day”. In the last video, Ben Harper is playing alongside buddy Jack Johnson who’s performing his song “Flake” on Leno (check out the cool slide guitar solo!).
I’m not familiar with every Stevie Wonder album, nor do I like all of his songs, but there are many I do like since there’s such a wide selection to choose from! I can say with no hesitation that he is a major artist who made an immense contribution to music, and society as well in a way. Never giving in to cynicism, he retained an optimism about humanity which, in our current cynical world, is kind of refreshing.
With a career spanning over 50 years, incredibly talented Stevie Wonder is a wonder indeed. He was signed by mystical label Motown at age 11. He’s made some great albums like the “Fullfillingness First Finale”, “Songs in the Key of Life” and “Innervisions”. The 1980 reggay tune “Master Blaster Jammin'” is feel good music at its best (just look at that smiley-faced audience!). Incidentally, has anyone seen one of his live shows? I haven’t, but it seems to be quite an experience! I think you go home happy afterwards.
So there you go, let’s brighten up this November sky with the famous “Superstitions”, the funky “Too High” from Innervisions, and the smooth, yet upbeat “Master Blaster Jammin'”.
I had to put this post under the hard/punk/ska category, although Sublime has several reggay-type songs that are quite accessible to a wide audience (although the lyrics might not be… yeah might not be my parents’ cup of tea). Sadly, charismatic singer Brad Nowell died at 28 of a heroin overdose in 1996, just before Sublime now-famous eponym album was released. What a great album. Rest in peace Brad!
Here’s a live performance of Johnny Butt and Don’t push. Also, for your enjoyment, two music videos: “What I got” and “Same in the end”. Now, who want to go surfing? Or skateboarding? Or even longboarding? (remember the longboard? No? Check the videos!!)
French group Tryo plays a sort of festive acoustic reggay. It’s a great band, and you can enjoy their songs even if you don’t understand what they’re talking about. However, it is much much better when you understand the words, cause they’re socially-engaged and hilarious.
For example, above is the “Sortez les poubelles” video. The title means, litterally, “Take out the trash” and talks about the invasion of reality shows on TV. Of course this song was released in the early 2000s and it was just the beginning of this phenomenon. In the video, we see Beavis and Butthead watching French versions of Loft story, Big Brother, and others, and simultaneously, garbage is piling up…
I also put links to two live performances, including one featuring the great “M” and another where they invite famous African singer Alpha Blondy (from Ivory Coast) on stage and sing one of his reggay songs. This is one of Alpha Blondy’s great songs too, so it’s all good!