Category Archives: reggae.

25 Bob Marley songs better than Legend

The Honorable Robert Nesta Marley

Now, there are two types of Bob Marley fans out there.  There’s the kind who pop on Bob Marley’s Legend in the summertime and rock out while drinking some Red Stripes by the beach, and there are those of us who celebrate his entire catalogue.  Now, there are some good songs on Legend, Exodus and Redemption Song for example, but for the most part, its pop-reggae that lacks the political message that his life and music represented.  For the most part Legend is what you’ll hear at frat parties and bars that also play Dave Matthews Band and Jimmy Buffett.  So without further ado, here are 25 Bob Marley songs better than the Legend album(in no particular order:

1. Kaya

2. Sun Is Shining

3. Mr. Brown

4. Concrete Jungle

5. Soul Rebel

6. Slave Driver

7. Kinky Reggae

8. No More Trouble

9. Rasta Man Chant

10. Duppy Conqueror

11. Burnin’ and Lootin’

12. Them Belly Full

13. Natty Dread

14. Positive Vibration

15. Rebel Music

16. Crazy Baldhead

17. Natural Mystic

18. Punky Reggae Party

19. Lively Up Yourself

20. War / No More Trouble

21. Soul Shakedown Party

22. Rat Race

23. Mellow Mood

24. Bend Down Low

25. Trenchtown Rock

The songs I added videos for are what I consider the best of the best, whereas the songs I emboldened are personal favorites of mine that don’t get enough appreciation.


for this weeks bonus, I will add Bob’s acoustic medley.  It does include some songs from Legend, but it also has some deep cuts that are often underappreciated:


The Original Gangsta of Reggae:

Ranking Dillinger

Jamaican deejay, Dillinger, was laying down the heat while Peter and Bob were too worried about politics too really get down.  Just give the man a beat and he could freestyle his way fantastically over it, almost a prelude to modern rap[especially in dealing with the subjects he sings about(drugs and women mostly)].

I first became aware of this almost unknown in America, but hugely popular in Jamaica and Europe, reggae artist by a Jamaica Ska-core Box Set my brother had bought in high school.  It was a three-disc set and each disc had a giant pot leaf on it and each disc featured 1 track from Dillinger(Cocaine in My Brain, Marijuana in My Brain and Crabs in My Pants).

Clearly this man was ahead of the curve, even if you couldn’t understand what he said half the time.  I was addicted though, and I needed more, but amazingly enough, at the time I couldn’t find a single record store in my area that sold any of his music.  I was miffed.  Then, on a school trip to Spain and Portugal, I happened to stumble into a record store in Lisbon and fancied my way to the reggae section.  There it was like a big f’n sign from above, a vast selection of Dillinger in a proper reggae section, so I grabbed a double-disc compilation album of older stuff and newer stuff and got on my way.

Songs like this clued me in to where it’s really at.  This guy is frickin’ insane, and a genius at that too.  Back before Snoop Dogg was singing about bitches and hoes, this guy was telling you to stay away from chicks w/ crabs.  Fucking Brilliant!

Hell, Cocaine in My Brain was a #1 hit in the Netherlands and if it’s good enough to be #1 in Amsterdam, it’s my kinda shit.  This guy takes a few years off every decade or so, but he’s still keeping it real down in sweet Jamaica.  He’s gotten shout outs from the Clash in songs, he made a cameo in cult Jamaican classic film, Rockers.  Dude just accomplished everything there is to do in Jamaica, and can chill on that for the rest of his life if he pleases.  So here’s to you, Dillinger, way to buck the system altogether and just speak your mind.  I hope he lives a long and healthy life, cuz if someone in Jamaica deserves it, that’s the guy.

Top 5 Jamaican dub artists:

The King wears his crown.

Now over the years dub has come to mean many things, whether it be just a taped version of something or a sub-genre of electronic music.  Even Dub has gotten sub-genres with dubstep and the likes, but today we’re focusing on the classic Jamaican dub jams that were so prevalent in the 70’s and early 80’s.  Dub quickly became a sub-genre of Reggae as many artists would collaborate with dub producers and remix their classic reggae tunes.  Dub became so well-known that it influenced the sounds of bands like the Clash or Sublime, but today we’re gonna stick to strictly roots dub of Jamaica:

#5. Mad Professor  The Professor gets bonus points for being the first dub artist I got to see in a live setting, so for that alone he takes the #5 spot.  This particular song I used to mix in when we had turntables and would play for all the raver kids who didn’t realize I just slipped them a Mickey:

#4. The Aggrovators  As opposed to most dub, the Aggrovators were a full band who were led by producer Bunny Lee.   A lot of their late 70’s albums were classics in the reggae department and they frequently worked with the likes of King Tubby and Lee Perry.  This particular dub is a rendition of Bob Marley’s classic ‘Sun is Shining’:

#3. Augustus Pablo  You can’t have a dub compilation and not mention Augustus Pablo.  He was one of the most popular dub artists of all-time and his use of the melodica gave his dubs a sweet kick to them.  This particular dub came from his album Valley of Jehosaphat which was realeased in 1999, the year of his death:

#2. Lee “Scratch” Perry  Scratch was one of the originators of the dub sound, and being as influential as he was, he easily earns the #2 spot.  He’s worked with everyone in the history of reggae(such as the original Wailers) and even makes an appearance on the Beastie Boys ‘Hello Nasty’ album, but for dexterity here’s him in his prime:

#1. King Tubby  Who else but the King could I put at #1?  He along with Perry originated dub, so much that he is credited with inventing the concept of the remix.  I doubt many Rap artists knew that, but influence aside, his dubs were always great and mellow.  He had a certain swagger to his music that you could just relax, smoke a spliff and enjoy.  It’s hard to choose just 1 King Tubby song to represent him, but this one is always my fall-back favorite:

Like Peter Tosh, King Tubby was killed outside his home in 1989, so if you ever go to Jamaica, be sure to pay your respects to the fallen greats.

Honorable Mentions:  Scientist, Prince Jammy and the Congos.

BONUS:  For being a good sport and hopefully learning a little something about the roots of Dub music, I give you the Congos:

The Forefather of Reggae:

Obviously, if you know me and know the name of my blog, you know I’m a Peter Tosh fan.  Some people find his music to be a little too political compared to the soothing songs of his former band mate, Bob Marley, but let’s look at the history of roots reggae:

the mystic man.

Bob Marley and the Wailers put reggae on the map in the music world, but before they did, they were a ska band known as the Wailing Wailers.  Marley and Bunny Wailer were introduced to Peter Tosh through their vocal coach and formed a ska trio who released their first album in 1965.

After that, Marley moved to America for a short-while and it was during that time that Tosh and Bunny became introduced to Rastafarianism.  When Marley returned, they indoctrinated him in the teachings of the religion, and they decided to make their music more meaningful on several levels, be it political or spiritual.  They dropped the Wailing from their name and made more a more mellow, laid back sound of music that is now known as Reggae.  They enlisted in the help of bassist Aston ‘Family Man’ Barrett and his brother, drummer, Carlton Barrett.

Being the lead guitarist, Peter came to use the uppy guitar riffs that has since became a staple in any reggae song.  While with the Wailers, he added to their song-writing with politically motivated songs such as “Get Up, Stand Up” and “400 years.”  In 1973, he was involved in a car accident where the other driver crossed the center line and crashed into a car driven by Peter who was with his then girlfriend Evonne.  Evonne died and Peter had suffered severe head trauma.  After recovery, Peter wanted to release his own album, but Island Records president Chris “Whiteworst” denied him of that, which caused Peter and Bunny, who also seeked to make a solo album, to leave the Wailers.

Peter’s solo career started gaining attention immediately with his initial release ‘Legalize It’ which became a favorite of pro-marijuana protesters worldwide.  Peter’s highly political messages were a lot more blunt than his former brother, Marley who was writing songs like ‘Jamming’ and ‘One Love’ at the time.  In a nutshell, Marley was to Martin Luther King as Tosh was to Malcolm X.  Tosh followed up his debut album with ‘Equal Rights and Bush Doctor.’   Tosh’s career took a huge turn for the better when he was contacted by Rolling Stone Records and performed the Temptations ‘Don’t Look Back’ as a duet with Mick Jagger.

That wouldn’t last forever though as Tosh performed at the One Love Peace Concert in Kingston, Jamaica in 1968.  While both Marley and Tosh shared the stage at different times that evening, Marley had the leaders of the two major political parties shake hands onstage during a rendition of ‘Jamming.’  Tosh, however, openly smoked marijuana during his set and lambasted the two political representatives and their ‘shitstem’ between songs.  Months after the concert, Jamaican police found Tosh while leaving a Kingston skate-hall and brutally beat him.

Still though, Tosh kept on trucking releasing “Mystic Man’ and ‘Wanted Dead or Alive.’  He even makes a cameo appearance in The Rolling Stone’s music video for ‘Waiting on a Friend.’  He followed up with ‘Mama Africa’ and then toured worldwide, while trying to help raise awareness to fight apartheid in South Africa.

Tosh finally returned to the studio to release ‘No Nuclear War’ in 1987 which won him a Grammy for Best Reggae Performance.  The celebration didn’t last too long though because that same year, three men broke into Peter’s home, demanded money and killed him along with one other man.  The whole story behind the shooting is mostly hearsay, but if you wanna learn more about it, I urge you to go out and rent Steppin’ Razor X, a documentary on the life of Peter.

Also, if you’re not familiar with Peter’s music and don’t have the time to listen to the complete discography, I urge you to go out and buy the ‘Honorary Citizen’ 3 disc box set that was released in 1997.  These discs, one of classic cuts, one of hits and one of live performances helped me to see the beauty that is the music of Peter Tosh.

Thanks everyone for reading, it was great for me to finally do a reggae related post, maybe I’ll follow-up with a review on the classic films’ The Harder They Come’ or ‘Rockers'(which are both a must see for any reggae fan), or my other favorite reggae artists such as King Tubby or Dillinger.  Until next time, I’ll pick myself up, dust myself off, and start all over again.