Part of me scoffs at the squeaky-clean production of these late-period Wailers albums, but the other part of me is glad that a songwriter as brilliant, deserving and hard-working as Bob Marley was given such a huge platform to spread his message. Yeah, I’ve got some of his records, but they mostly just sit on the shelf waiting for the day when life has failed me and nothing else in the world can bring me joy. And although 99 times out of 100 I might prefer to listen to Leroy Smart or some Mad Cobra digital slackness Jammy’s production, Bob Marley is in the canon, and any reggae head that tries to convince you otherwise is full of shit. Kaya, originally released in 1978 by Island Records, lacks much of the militant pro-blackness that defined Bob’s earlier works like Natty Dread and Rastaman Vibration, focusing instead on lovemaking and ganja, making it a staple in college dormrooms across the country. The truth is, the songs contained herein were recorded during the same sessions as those which made it on to the considerably more political Exodus album, so props to Bob for an excellent job sequencing these two albums for cohesion’s sake. Right off top, you’ll recognize “Is This Love” and “Satisfy My Soul” from the Legend CD that your dad broke out for Sunday BBQs, but dig a little deeper into the feelgood vibes of (relatively) slept-on album cuts “Easy Skanking,” “Crisis,” “She’s Gone” and “Running Away,” which even the deepest reggae heads and esoteric diggers can’t deny. Marley enthusiasts won’t want to miss the liner notes included in this 40th anniversary reissue, as they contain Bob’s original lyrics for “Time Will Tell” which were forgotten on the day of recording so Bob had no choice but to mumble through it, and eventually chose not to re-record. Includes the original album mixes on LP1 and a new 40th anniversary mix by Stephen Marley on LP2, housed in deluxe gatefold sleeve with liner notes by Bob’s friend and album cover designer Neville Garrick.
- 40th anniversary double vinyl pressing
- LP1 contains original mixes
- LP2 contains new mixes by Stephen 'Ragga' Marley
- foldout insert includes full album lyrics + liner notes by Neville Garrick
- music label: Island Records 2018
reviewed by sakura incident 09/2018