Exodus (Bob Marley & the Wailers album)

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Exodus
Studio album by Bob Marley and the Wailers
Released 3 June 1977
Recorded Harry J. Studio, Kingston, Jamaica, 1976 and Island Studios, London, January–April 1977
Genre Reggae
Length 37:24
Label
Producer Bob Marley & the Wailers
Bob Marley and the Wailers chronology
Rastaman Vibration
(1976)
Exodus
(1977)
Kaya
(1978)

Exodus is the ninth studio album by Jamaican reggae recording band Bob Marley and the Wailers, first released 3 June 1977 though Island Records. Following the disbandment of the groups original member's Marley was joined by a new backing band in which they released their first major success Rastaman Vibration (1976). On 3 December 1976, an assassination attempt was made on Bob Marley’s life in which his chest was grazed and his arm was struck, but he survived.[1] Following the assassination attempt Marley left Jamaica and was exiled to London where Exodus was recorded.[2]

Exodus is a reggae album, but it also incorporates elements of blues, soul, British rock and funk. The album's production has been characterized as laid-back with pulsating bass beats and an emphasis on piano, trumpet and guitar. Unlike previous albums from the Wailers, Exodus thematically moves away from cryptic story-telling; instead it revolves around themes of change, religious politics, and sex. The album is split into two halves: the first half revolves around religious politics while the second half is focused on themes of sex and keeping faith.

The album was a success both critically and commercially; receiving gold certifications in the US, UK and Canada. Exodus is widely considered to be the album that propelled Marley to international stardom.[1] In 2007 Exodus was remastered and re-released for its 30th anniversary. The re-release sparked new interest in the album, which many now argue is one of Marley's best works. Exodus has more tracks on Marley’s greatest hits album, Legend which is the highest selling reggae album of all time, than any of his other records.[1]

Background[edit]

In 1974, the Wailers disbanded with each of the three main members pursuing solo careers, despite the break-up, Marley continued recording as "Bob Marley & The Wailers". His new backing band included brothers Carlton and Aston "Family Man" Barrett on drums and bass respectively, Junior Marvin and Al Anderson on lead guitar, Tyrone Downie and Earl "Wya" Lindo on keyboards, and Alvin "Seeco" Patterson on percussion. The "I Threes", consisting of Judy Mowatt, Marcia Griffiths, and Marley's wife, Rita, provided backing vocals. In 1975, Marley had his international breakthrough with his first hit outside Jamaica, "No Woman, No Cry", from the Natty Dread album. This was followed by his breakthrough album in the United States, Rastaman Vibration (1976), which became the 48th best-selling album on the Billboard Soul Charts in 1978.[3]

Conception[edit]

In December 1976, Jamaica was going through elections. There was a substantial amount of political discourse on the island. The candidate Michael Manley used the campaign slogan "We know where we’re going." In response Marley wrote "Exodus", which is the title track of the album. The Rastafarian collective believe the song was an appropriate reply to Manley’s proclamation. Marley's lyrics say, "Open your eyes and look within, are you satisfied with the life you’re living? We know where we’re going, we know where we’re from, we’re leaving Babylon into our father’s land." The song became a No. 1 hit in Jamaica as well as England and Germany.[4]

On 3 December 1976, an attempt was made on Marley’s life. It was this attempt that drove him out of Jamaica, In addition to Marley's assassination attempt, "his wife Rita — one of the I Threes, whose singing on Exodus is first-rate"[5] was also shot and survived. During this time Marley saw that the Rastafarians were "struggling to be free" and needed direction in life. Many of the songs produced in the Exodus album are just that. He sincerely wanted to bring his people out of oppression and by producing the Exodus album he moved many Rastafarian people towards their dream of overcoming oppression.

Music[edit]

20 seconds of "One Love/People Get Ready" by The Wailers

Problems playing this file? See media help.

Exodus is a reggae album[2][6] which features a "laid-back" production, that contains a "stoned atmosphere that’s simultaneously funky and political" according to Cam, an Emeritus from Sputnikmusic.[6]

Cam described the album's musical style as being "different" noting Marley's style of reggae was not what was prominent in Jamaica during the time, continuing to say that the album's music sounds unlike any reggae that came before its release.[6] Emeritus continued to describe the album's sound as being rooted in the blues and soul, with elements of British Rock with a reggae "façade thrown on top" however Emeritus praised this saying "if Exodus was straight reggae, it probably wouldn’t be as good as it is."[6]

Exodus contains elements of pulsating bass beats, pianos and funk along with a "liquid-y bass," drumming and guitars with the inclusion of trumpets in the title track.[6] Unlike previous albums Exodus lyrical content moves away from cryptic story-telling and instead is clearer and more straight forward, the lyrics touch upon themes of change, religious politics, sex. Vocally, Marley provides a minimalist approach, trying not to reach his falsettos.[6]

The album's track listing is split over two halves,[5] the first half features songs of religious politics and opens with Natural Mystic which is a slow tempo "fade up" song, followed by "So Much Things To Say" which was described by the BBC as being "exuberant" and features a reggae-scat.[1] The following two songs Guiltiness and The Heathen explore darker territory, before ending on the albums title track.[1] The second half of the album features songs revolving around sex and keeping faith.[5]

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4.5/5 stars[2]
Billboard (favorable)[7]
Pitchfork Media (8.4/10)[8]
PopMatters (favorable)[9]
Robert Christgau B+[10]
Sputnikmusic 5/5 stars[6]

Cam from Sputnikmusic gave the album five out of five starts calling it a "classic", Emeritus praised the album's "laid-back tones" and commended Marley's vocals and lyrical content.[6] As described by Rolling Stone magazine, Exodus is an album with "the magnificent rhythm section of Aston Barrett, bass, and Carlton Barrett, drums, and the spidery lead guitar of Julian "Junior" Marvin — and the flatness of the material Bob Marley has given them to work with"[5]

"Jamming", "Waiting in Vain" and "One Love/People Get Ready" were all major international hits. Exodus peaked at number 20 on the Billboard 200 and at number 15 on the Black Albums chart, as well as remaining in the UK charts for 56 consecutive weeks, where it peaked at number 8.

Exodus has been recognized by music critics as one of the greatest albums of all time. In 1999, Time magazine named Exodus the best album of the 20th century.[11] In 2001, the TV network VH1 named it the 26th greatest album of all time. In 2003, the album was ranked number 169 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.[12]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Bob Marley, unless noted.

1977 original release[edit]

Side one
No. Title Length
1. "Natural Mystic"   3:28
2. "So Much Things to Say"   3:08
3. "Guiltiness"   3:19
4. "The Heathen"   2:32
5. "Exodus"   7:40
Side two
No. Title Length
6. "Jamming"   3:31
7. "Waiting in Vain"   4:16
8. "Turn Your Lights Down Low"   3:39
9. "Three Little Birds"   3:00
10. "One Love/People Get Ready" (Bob Marley / Curtis Mayfield) 2:52

2001 Deluxe Edition[edit]

Disc One[edit]

Bonus tracks
No. Title Length
11. "Roots" (b-side of "Waiting in Vain", released 19 August 1977) 3:42
12. "Waiting in Vain (alternative version)" (previously unreleased) 4:43
13. "Jamming (long version)" (12" single, released 11 November 1977) 5:52
14. "Jamming (version)" (previously unreleased) 3:04
15. "Exodus (version)" (b-side of "Exodus", released 24 June 1977) 3:08

Tracks 12 and 14 are previously unreleased.

Disc Two[edit]

Exodus tour (Live at the Rainbow Theatre, London, June 4, 1977)
No. Title Length
1. "The Heathen"   6:48
2. "Crazy Baldhead / Running Away" (Rita Marley / Vincent Ford) / (Bob Marley) 9:21
3. "War / No More Trouble" (Allen Cole / Carlton Barrett) / (Bob Marley) 7:44
4. "Jamming"   7:07
5. "Exodus"   11:46
Sessions with Lee Perry, July / August 1977
No. Title Length
6. "Punky Reggae Party" (Bob Marley / Lee Perry) 9:18
7. "Punky Reggae Party (dub)" (Bob Marley / Lee Perry) (12" single, released November 1977) 8:47
8. "Keep on Moving" (Curtis Mayfield) 6:25
9. "Keep on Moving (dub)" (Curtis Mayfield) (recorded July 1977, mixed August 1977) 6:15
10. "Exodus / Waiting in Vain (advertisement)"   1:07

Tracks 1–5 and tracks 8, 9, and 10 are previously unreleased.

2004 Definitive Remastered Edition[edit]

CD[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Natural Mystic"   3:28
2. "So Much Things to Say"   3:08
3. "Guiltiness"   3:19
4. "The Heathen"   2:32
5. "Exodus"   7:40
6. "Jamming"   3:31
7. "Waiting in Vain"   4:16
8. "Turn Your Lights Down Low"   3:39
9. "Three Little Birds"   3:00
10. "One Love/People Get Ready" (Bob Marley / Curtis Mayfield) 2:52
11. "Jamming" (long version) 5:52
12. "Punky Reggae Party" (long version) 6:50

DVD[edit]

No. Title Length
1. "Exodus" (Live at The Rainbow, 1977) 6:15
2. "Three Little Birds"   3:33
3. "One Love/People Get Ready"   2:49
4. "Exodus" (Kindred Spirit Mix Edit) 4:21

Personnel[edit]

Technical personnel
Performers and musicians

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Canada (Music Canada)[22] Gold 50,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[23] Gold 100,000^
United States (RIAA)[24] Gold 500,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Taylor, Angus (2007). "Bob Marley and the Wailers Exodus: 30th Anniversary Edition Review". BBC Online. Retrieved 5 July 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c Hilburn, Matthew. "Bob Marley & the Wailers – Exodus". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 7 January 2014. 
  3. ^ "Soul > Albums". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media) 88 (52): 42. 25 December 1976. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  4. ^ Bradshaw, Jon (14 August 1977). "The Reggae Way To 'Salvation'". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d Marcus, Greil (14 July 1977). "Bob Marley – Exodus". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Cam. "Bob Marley and The Wailers – Exodus". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  7. ^ "Billboard's Top Album Picks > Pop > Bob Marley & the Wailers – Exodus". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media) 89 (22): 78. 4 June 1977. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  8. ^ Klein, Joshua (7 December 2007). "Bob Marley & the Wailers – Exodus: 30th Anniversary Edition". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  9. ^ Sanders, J. Victoria (13 November 2001) Bob Marley – Exodus (Deluxe Edition) at the Wayback Machine (archived 16 June 2004). PopMatters. Retrieved 8 September 2012.
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Bob Marley & the Wailers". Retrieved 8 September 2012. 
  11. ^ "The Best Of The Century". Time. 31 December 1999. Retrieved 16 April 2009. 
  12. ^ "169 – Bob Marley and the Wailers' 'Exodus'". Rolling Stone. Jann Wenner. Retrieved 1 November 2003. 
  13. ^ "Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus" (in German). Austriancharts.at. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  14. ^ "Top Albums/CDs – Volume 27, No. 23, September 03 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  15. ^ "Le Détail des Albums de chaque Artiste" (in French). InfoDisc. Select "Bob Marley & The Wailers" from the artist drop-down menu. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  16. ^ "Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus" (in Dutch). Dutchcharts.nl. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  17. ^ "Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus". Norwegiancharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  18. ^ "Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus". Swedishcharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  19. ^ "1977-07-02 Top 40 Official UK Albums Archive | Official Charts". UK Albums Chart. The Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  20. ^ a b c "Exodus – Awards". AllMusic. All Media Network. Retrieved 28 May 2014. 
  21. ^ "Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus". Lescharts.com. Hung Medien. Retrieved 28 May 2014.
  22. ^ "Canadian album certifications – Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus". Music Canada. 
  23. ^ "British album certifications – Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter Exodus in the field Search. Select Title in the field Search by. Select album in the field By Format. Click Go
  24. ^ "American album certifications – Bob Marley & The Wailers – Exodus". Recording Industry Association of America.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Album, then click SEARCH

Further reading[edit]