“And this, I wan’ tell ya, is a Trenchtown experience…all the way from Trenchtown Jamaica, Bob Marley & The Wailers…C’mon”
And with that introduction Bob and his incredible band (the rhythm section of the Barrett brothers Carlton and Aston “Family Man”, keysman Tyrone Downie, Al Anderson on lead guitar, percussionist Alvin “Seeco” Patterson and the I Three’s, Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths) glide into the most incredible performance of “Trenchtown Rock”. It’s a song and a performance I’ve loved since first hearing it (probably courtesy of my school friend Howard Bramble), particularly because it has a lyric that sums up the way I feel about music and always have. The first thing Bob sings on this record is
“One good thing about music, When it hits you feel no pain
So hit me with music, Hit me with music now”
If that isn’t a great enough start Bob repeats it throughout the song and when he gets towards the end follows up the “Hit me with music” line with what I believe is now known as a mic drop
“Brutalise me with music”
BOOM! If I’m awake there is barely a moment in my life when there isn’t music playing no matter what else I’m doing, my life has to have a soundtrack. Thanx Bob for setting my feelings about music, to music…and to think we never even met.
From then on the crowd are treated to one of the finest performances you’ll ever hear, what it must have been to see this band. “Burnin’ And Lootin’”, “Them Belly Full…”, the sheer exuberance of “Lively Up Yourself”, by the time you get to “No Woman No Cry” you’re thinking like you’ll get a breather but…it’s such an emotionally charged, incredible performance of the song there’s just no let up in the intensity even though things have slowed down. It’s the definitive version of the song, knocking the studio version from “Natty Dread” right outta the park. For those that don’t know the song was written by Bob Marley but he gave a co-writing credit to his friend Vincent Ford who ran a soup kitchen in the Government Yard public housing projects of Trenchtown (“I remember when we used to sit, In the government yard in Trenchtown“). The royalties generated by the song allowed Ford to carry on with the kitchen.
"Live!" is right up there in the top 5 of the greatest live albums, a masterful performance of superb songs by a fearsome group of musicians. All the ingredients you need.
Trenchtown Rock - https://youtu.be/ziQSNGFzlp4?si=EKDFHdg7zw-f6XhY