Catch a Fire – Bob Marley and the Wailers (1973)


Catch a Fire was the major label debut for Bob Marley and the Wailers, and it was an international success upon its release in 1973. Although Bob Marley may have been the main voice, every member of the Wailers made valuable contributions and they were never more united in their vision and sound. All the songs were originals, and the instrumentation was minimalistic in order to bring out the passionate, often politically charged lyrics. Much of the appeal of the album lies in its sincerity and sense of purpose — these are streetwise yet disarmingly idealistic young men who look around themselves and believe they might help change the world through music. Marley sings about the current state of urban poverty (‘Concrete Jungle’) and connects the present to past injustices (‘Slave Driver’), but he is a not a one-trick pony. He is a versatile songwriter who also excels at singing love songs such as his classic ‘Stir It Up.’ Peter Tosh sings the lead vocal on two of his own compositions — his powerful presence and immense talent hint that he would eventually leave for his own successful solo career. More than anything else, however, this marks the emergence of Bob Marley and the international debut of reggae music. Marley would continue to achieve great critical and commercial success during the 1970s, but Catch a Fire is one of the finest reggae albums ever. This album is essential for any music collection.”
allmusic
W – Catch a Fire
YouTube: Stir It Up (Live), Concrete Jungle – The Grey Old Whistle Test, Slave driver
YouTube: Catch A Fire 1973 Full Album

Equal Rights – Peter Tosh (1977)


Equal Rights was to be the album that propelled Peter Tosh to the top of the reggae world — the rival to onetime fellow Wailer Bob Marley. Time has shown that this lofty aspiration was not borne out, but Equal Rights remains among the handful of best, and most influential, reggae albums ever recorded. Tosh was always the most militant of the original Wailers and this album reflects that outlook. Whether it is preaching about the unity of the African diaspora (‘African’), protesting conditions in South Africa (‘Apartheid’), or giving a more general call to arms (‘Get Up, Stand Up’), Equal Rights is a political album. This is at times crippling, as some tracks are more effective as political statements than they are as songs. This, in fact, is a primary difference between Tosh and MarleyMarley‘s political statements never overwhelmed his songs. Unfortunately, this is not always the case with Tosh. That being said, ‘Downpresser Man’ (based on a folk standard), ‘Stepping Razor,’ and his definitive version of ‘Get Up, Stand Up’ are as good a trio of songs as you will find on any album, reggae or not. Tosh‘s singing is angry and forceful and the music is intricate and distinctive. On these three tracks you can see why people thought that Tosh could become a transcendent international star. The rest of the album, however, shows why he never quite lived up to that potential.”
allmusic
W – Equal Rights
amazon
YouTube: Equal Rights, Steppin’ Razor
YouTube: EQUAL RIGHTS [1977 FULL ALBUM]