I conducted a thorough research about Bob Marley’s compilations. Conclusion no. 1: There are a lot of them. Conclusion no. 2: Most of them are crap and music business is weird. Conclusion no. 3: The best one is “Gold”, released by Island in 1995. Except the horrible title, it’s the closest thing to perfection – i’ll have to admit that i care mostly for Nesta’s pop hits and for some reasons most compilation miss out on some of them, while “Gold” has all the greatest – “Iron Lion Zion”, “Buffalo Soldier”, “One Love”, “Get Up Stand Up”, “Is This Love”, “Redemption Song”, “Exodus”, “No Woman” etc. and also a collection of his earlier less-known Jamaican work, with which i am not familiar at all, but willing to try (there’s only one problem – no “Three Little Birds”, known for its “Ev’ry little thing’s gonna be alright” chorus, but that’s business).
So yesterday i went to a record store to buy it. And it wasn’t there. So i got Prince’s Purple Rain instead.
I used to have it on vinyl when i was about ten years old. Just a few years after it was released. So it’s powerful nostalgia. It was the second pop album i listened to – the first was John Lennon’s “Imagine”. “Imagine” is impossible to beat of course, but “Purple Rain” had done something subconscious to me. It has amazing moments – the ultra-stupid opener “Let’s Go Crazy” has this mighty mood-setting “Dearly beloved” monologue, the “Oh no, let’s go” line before the chorus and the funniest coda in the form of a ridiculous metal solo, which becomes a bluesy ending, which then becomes a very “Run Like Hell” stadium rock drum solo and finally ends with Prince’s scream. Then comes “Take Me With U”, which has superb keyboards and a repeating strings riff starting in the second verse – Ta-Ba-Da-Ba-Bam-Pa-Pam! Then there’s a song which says “Baby, baby, baby, I want you, do you want me?” The “baby, baby” line is repeated many times. That’s where i learned the English word “baby”. That’s where i also learned the words “crazy” and “dove”. Oh – “When Doves Cry”; for some reason i used to skip it all the time, preferring the throwaway “I Would Die 4 U”. I was ten years old, mind you.
So yesterday i listened to it in the car. And it is still good. “Take Me With You” is genius – as good as a pop song can be. I discovered that the anthemic and magnificent title track is criminally edited for the radio, excising the beautiful orchestral coda. Yes, orchestral codas are not made for radio singles. But it’s still criminal.
And it costs just 20 NIS.