Saturday, April 9, 2011

319. Burnin- the other Bob.

Album: Burnin
Artist: The Wailers
Year: 1973
Genre: Reggae


  1. Get Up, Stand Up
  2. Hallelujah Time
  3. I Shot the Sheriff
  4. Burnin' and Lootin'
  5. Put It On
  6. Small Axe
  7. Pass It On
  8. Duppy Conqueror
  9. One Foundation
  10. Rastaman Chant

If any of you out there have been reading each new review with an increasing sense of irritation and the words “Yes but what about Bob Marley” on your lips can I present the first album by the first legend of Reggae. Although technically it’s not actually a Bob Marley album even though it’s usually credited to Bob Marley and the wailers. It’s actually an album by The Wailers a band that Marley was an equal member of along with Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer who I’m sorry to report isn’t an actual rabbit.

But now we’ve clarified that we can agree that Marley is definitely on this album and wrote or cowrote many of the songs. It’s his first entry into the top 500 and only the second reggae album.

It seems that almost everyone loves Reggae. It’s a universally adored musical form but I’m sorry to say I can’t really get on board the reggae train. Burning is the first time I’ve sat down and listened to a Bob Marley album from start to finish. So did it convert me?


I can understand why people like Reggae. If you like your music laid back but with rhythm then it’s the musical style for you. It’s got a groove but one that you can easily appreciate lying down.  Despite the fact that the opening track exhorts the listener to Get up and Stand up it’s possible to appreciate this entire album in a comfy chair while tapping your toe. A wailers album isn’t a work out for your feet but your neck gets some exercise (head nodding is practically a reggae dance) and your woofers will respond to the thundering bass tones.

The version of Burnin that I listened to was the most bass heavy release of any album I’ve ever heard. While the other instruments and vocals seemed to be localized in the stereo landscape and an accessible size the bass sounds like it’s being played by God. A deity of some kind has hooked a bass guitar up to an amplifier made entire out of thunder clouds and sat happily in the sky playing along with the rest of the band. It’s part of the toe tapping appeal of reggae.

Sadly after four listens I’m still fairly cold to the reggae experience. I don’t hate it but it doesn’t grab me in any way. I appreciate the talent, I can see where the appeal is but I’ve got no desire to listen to it myself.

Highlight: Get up Stand Up
Lowlight: I shot the Sherrif

Influenced by: African rhythms and no sense of urgency.
Influenced: All Reggae.

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "It's also the last studio album ever recorded by the super-group that included Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer all on vocals."

-I don't want to seem like I'm nit-picking here but the original wailers weren't a "super-group." A super-group isn't just a big group it's a collection of already established names in the music industry who get together and form a band (Crosby, Stills and Nash for example). Sorry but it does annoy me when the term is misused.

So do the wailers leave you burnin or does this record deserve to be burnt? Let me know below.

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