The reggae legend is honored locally with a show and nationally with a new release of a live album from 1978.
Today Bob Marley would have been 70 had he not died in 1981, and in the time since his death, his beatification has put his life and career in soft focus. On February 17, Easy Skanking In Boston ’78 will be released, presenting Marley and the Wailers at a great point in their career. The powerful Marley live album Babylon by Bus was recorded the same year, and Easy Skanking In Boston ’78 is a strong companion with only a handful of overlapping songs between the two releases. Throughout, Marley is fiery, seemingly entranced by his own performance, and the Wailers’ grooves are physical and compelling.
The second half of the show features the band stretching out, with only “Get Up Stand Up” in the final six songs clocking in at under six minutes (5:55). At no point do the songs feel slack though, and Marley is charismatic with more red blood than his saintly legend encompasses. I’m writing having only heard the album; it will be packaged with a DVD shot at one of the two shows recorded to make the album.
For those looking for a Marley celebration in New Orleans, the One Love Brass Band and Daria and the Hip Drops will play “Marley Gras” at the Little Gem Saloon tonight at 10. John Wirt has more on the reggae/brass combination today in The New Orleans Advocate.