Review Summary: "Got to have Kaya now, for the rain is fallin'!"
When one thinks of reggae music, they undoubtedly think of Bob Marley & The Wailers. Rightfully so, as the Jamaican trio have released such classics as Catch A Fire and Exodus before Marley's unfortunate death in 1981. Through their soulful, stoned, and leisurely music, they've managed to touch millions of people around the world, and their influence on reggae is undeniable. But, before they launched on to an international scene after signing to Island Records and subsequently releasing Catch A Fire, they were known simply as The Wailers.
The Wailers had already been well-known in Jamaica since the mid-60's, and had released one ska gospel album and two reggae albums. One of these two reggae albums, Soul Revolution, is arguably their best from the early days. It was the last album they released before signing on to Island Records, and was so successful that a dub version of the album, Soul Revolution Part II, was released later on. Thus, Soul Revolution is a very important release in the discography of The Wailers, and remains so to this day. But why so?
Simply put, Soul Revolution was a diligent display of what The Wailers could do. The first two songs from the record, "Keep on Moving" and "Don't Rock My Boat", showcase one of the trademarks of The Wailers: Their smooth, confident instrumental ability. The drums are excellently lazy, and the guitars make their way through the songs with their laid-back style flawlessly. Smooth basslines underscore the music wonderfully, giving off the traditional reggae groove with ease.
Marley's voice, one of the most recognizable in the music world, is especially soulful on the record, with Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer providing excellent reinforcement, per usual. All of this makes the record very easy to listen to, but also very fun to listen to as well. The cherry on top of it all, however, are the lyrics, written by Bob Marley, with a couple covers of traditional reggae jams.
The two aforementioned songs, "Keep on Moving" and "Don't Rock My Boat", are illustrated perfectly through the lyrics, which depict the mind of a man on the run and the woman that he loves. The songs "Kaya" and "African Herbsman" are both written by Marley about marijuana. The feelings he feels for it are painted up nicely on the canvas provided by the music.
If one thing holds the album back, it's that it's almost too laid-back. It surely is fun to listen to and it sounds great, but towards the end, it starts to lose a bit of steam. The easygoing feelings start to become a bit commonplace, and thus, a bit boring. However, album closer "Brain Washing" is a bit more fast-paced, and features Bunny Wailer on lead vocals, effectively breathing fresh air into the album, which closes on a high note.
The Wailers are still one of the most renowned bands in the music world, and quite possibly the most important reggae band out there. Yet, it wouldn't be right to forget the early days of The Wailers, to forget Soul Revolution, as it has proved itself as one of the essential Wailers releases.
"Sun is shining, the weather is sweet, yeah
Make you wanna move your dancing feet now
To the rescue, here I am
Want you to know, y'all, can you understand?"