Concrete Jungle: The Music Of Bob Marley


aec.tlr83635.2 3/28/06 New

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    Concrete Jungle: The Music Of Bob Marley Telarc Distribution

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Review Text Monty Alexander has had significant success in recent years with his light, jazzy settings of vintage reggae songs, and while surely no one would begrudge him his enjoyable duo performances with guitar great Ernest Ranglin or his swinging updates of old rocksteady love songs, by covering the songs of Bob Marley he's opening himself up to criticism for turning what were meant as militant songs of protest into easy listening for well-to-do Babylonians. On the other hand, just because it's easy to listen to doesn't necessarily mean it's simpleminded: his highlife-flavored introduction to "Africa Unite" segues nicely into a rhythmically tough and surprisingly faithful setting of one of Marley's best repatriation anthems, and his bouncy take on "Simmer Down" nicely recalls the Wailers' wonderful early days as a ska band. But best of all is his quiet but intense arrangement of "Babylon System," a rare interpretation of a Marley song that reveals both the anger and the simple heartache that lie at the center of the song -- on "Babylon System" you could hear Marley weeping for the wicked as well as crying out for justice for his people, and that anguish is brilliantly exposed in Alexander's arrangement. Elsewhere, a mento band massacres "Three Little Birds" and the inevitable "War" sheds no new light at all on what was always one of Marley's weakest compositions in terms of pure music, but overall this is an insightful and deeply enjoyable album. ~ Rick Anderson

Track Listing

CD: 1

  1. 1. Africa Unite - 5:47
  2. 2. Concrete Jungle - 5:25
  3. 3. No More Trouble - 6:25
  4. 4. War - 5:52
  5. 5. Babylon System - 6:36
  6. 6. Forever Lovin' Jah - 7:48
  7. 7. Crazy Baldheads - 7:55
  8. 8. Chant Down Babylon - 5:35
  9. 9. Simmer Down - 5:46
  10. 10. Trench Town - 5:21
  11. 11. Three Little Birds - 4:55
  12. 12. Selam - 2:39

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