Editors’ Notes 1976’s Rastaman Vibration is often cited as the album that finally broke Bob Marley into the American pop market. While this may be true from a sales standpoint, musically Rastaman Vibration is in fact something of a welcome stylistic digression for Marley, who paused to record this album of rough-hewn reggae in the midst of his metamorphosis from Rasta proselytizer to pop star. Since signing with Island Records in 1973 Marley had been inching away from the deep, dreader-than-dread sound of his early Lee Perry helmed recordings, crafting a brighter pop sound with more universal appeal. Rastaman Vibration, however, found Marley collaborating with veteran Jamaican producer Joe Gibbs, whose trademark heavyweight sound lends the album a welcome dose of bass-laden foreboding. On the thundering “War” Marley quotes Haile Sellassie over a stuttering, strangulated rhythm that drips with the threat of imminent violence, while the creeping drum machines of “Johnny Was” lend a sense of tragic inevitability to Marley’s tale of an inner city shooting. Rastaman Vibration is unquestionably one of Marley’s most accomplished albums, a welcome return to the rough and ready sound upon which he had built his reputation. This expanded reissue of Rastaman Vibration comes complete with a bonus album documenting Marley and the Wailers’ fiery 1976 performance at The Roxy in Los Angeles in support of Rastaman Vibration’s release.

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