This record features my favourite Bob Marley track, Is This Love. It’s a typical Wailers song – effortless, catchy and upbeat – and doesn’t let itself be burdened by the verse-chorus-verse template of western pop music. It has a structure, but a loose structure and the emphasis comes more from the message of the song rather than the boundaries of its form.
The record also features a re-recording of Sun Is Shining. Originally released on 1971’s Soul Revolution and then on the African Herbsman compilation in 1973, the song was later lifted by Funkstar Deluxe for a reggae fusion remix in 1999 which hit #1 in the USA and #3 in the UK. I’m not a huge fan of club remixes, but this was one of those tracks that forever seems to keep Marley’s music in the public eye.
I might have to hunt down the Deluxe Edition of Kaya on CD as it features a second disc of a live performance recorded in Rotterdam on the day I was born. Maybe that’s why I like Is This Love so much. Could Bob have been playing it just as I popped out into the cosmos?
This record reminds me of Ireland – both the North and the South.
I first bought this album while visiting my friends Linsay and Ruth in Omagh, Northern Ireland. It was the perfect album to buy while on holiday – it’s such an evergreen, everybody loves it – young and old. The album became the soundtrack to that holiday (George Harrison’s Ít’s Johnny’s Birthday was the soundtrack to my earlier trip to Omagh, but I’ve already written about that).
I then – against better judgement – started a long-distance relationship with a girl in Wexford, down in the South. As you can expect, before the advent of social media, we spent a great deal of our relationship on the phone. I mentioned Bob Marley’s Is This Love to her during one crackly conversation, and in turn she asked her musician friend about the song one night. He responded by jumping into an impromptu version of the song, quite embarrassing for her given that fact that she was hard at work at the time (serving customers in a burger joint in the middle of Wexford). I wish I would have been there to witness this. I might dislike musicals when people break out into song, but I love it when people break out into song in real life – the star of their own musical. Moral of the story: never ask a drunken Irishman about Bob Marley, if you’re not prepared to witness a performance of said song, right there and then.
I’ve read Billy Connolly’s autobiography, and he recalled a time when he was round at Eric Clapton’s house one time. He noticed that Eric had a load of postcards stuck on the fridge with magnets – like most people do. Looking closer, he noticed that one of them was from Bob Marley. The message simply read ‘No – I shot the sheriff!’ – what a great thing to have stuck to your fridge.
Some people don’t like Bob Marley. I don’t understand these people. To me, saying you don’t like Bob Marley is like saying you don’t like oxygen.