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Ghost Canyon

Title - The Capitol Session ‘73
Artist - Bob Marley And The Wailers

For those unaware, the scene is Hollywood. October 1973. International reggae pioneers Bob Marley and The Wailers were filmed in a closed door session at The Capitol Records Tower on October 24th by famed producer Denny Cordell, who received the blessing from Marley to capture the band recording 12 songs.

Shooting with four cameras and mixing “on the fly” to a colorized tape, this footage, has been painstakingly restored, resulting in an incredible presentation of this unseen live session.

On September 3rd, 2021, Tuff Gong and Mercury Studios are proud to present this concert (almost 50 years after it was recorded): Bob Marley And The Wailers: The Capitol Session ‘73 on DVD+CD, standalone CD [which is being reviewed here today], 2LP pressed on green marble vinyl, 2LP pressed on Rasta swirl vinyl (red, yellow and green – available exclusively at Sound of Vinyl), and digital formats.

Official Purchase Links

1. You Can’t Blame the Youth
2. Slave Driver
3. Burnin’ and Lootin’
4. Rastaman Chant
5. Duppy Conqueror
6. Midnight Ravers
7. Put It On
8. Stop That Train
9. Kinky Reggae
10. Stir It Up
11. No More Trouble
12. Get Up Stand Up

The sound of Bob Marley’s style of music was Reggae, which as I’m sure you all know by now, is simply a slowed down version of Ska. Indeed, many of you are probably familiar with Ska music, not only due to the old school bands such as the Specials, Selector, The Beat, etc. but because it made a rather spectacular comeback in the ’90s and early ’00s with bands such as Reel Big Fish, No Doubt, The Mighty Mighty Bosstones, and oh-so many more.

Which makes this raw, unbothered, uncluttered lost sound and vision performance from Marley and the Wailers such a pure and honest delight to behold here today.

Opening on the laid back hipsway of You Can’t Blame the Youth and then some doo-wop-steeped harmonies layered within a stretched-out groove bring us the lyrically incisive Slave Driver, next up are the slow and mournful, almost haunting harmonies of Burnin’ and Lootin’, the atmospheric, drum-led Rastaman Chant, the beautiful, yet entrancingly eerie Duppy Conqueror (in Jamaican folklore, duppies are evil spirits) and then we get Marley’s one-two dub step, conservative rant about London nightlife on Midnight Ravers.

The harmonized roots reggae of Put It On is itself followed by the soulful R&B-ska of Stop That Train and then we get presented the laid-back, cheerful, warm grooves of Kinky Reggae, the seductively vamp Stir It Up, with the recording rounding out on the ominous American funk and R&B vibe within No More Trouble, closing on the most potent song ever about human rights and the fight to secure them, the potent-chorused Get Up Stand Up.

This session at Capitol Studios represented a unique moment in the band’s career. Filmed 10 years after their formation, Bob Marley and the Wailers already had several established hits through the ska and rocksteady eras.

Gaining recognition stateside, including a few shows with Bruce Springsteen at Max’s Kansas City in NYC, they then went on to tour with Sly and the Family Stone, before they had been unceremoniously dumped from the tour.

This led to the band (Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Joe Higgs, Aston Barrett, Carlton Barrett, Earl “Wya” Lindo) making their way to Hollywood to do this session.

The footage from this session was considered lost until a freelance researcher uncovered a few frames. For over 20 years, archives and storage units from New York and London to San Diego were tracked down and searched to retrieve fragments of the film, until it was fully unearthed, restored, and remastered.

Evolving into a politically and socially charged unit after being inspired by the US Civil Rights movement, various African liberation efforts, and Rastafari, which Bob Marley and the Wailers studied from Rasta elders, their music reflected the soul and struggles of the era.

Making poignant statements about life, liberty, and social justice, the sentiments are imbued in the songs, which are beautifully brought to life via Bob Marley and The Wailers: The Capitol Session ‘73.

Sadly, Bob Marley passed away with melanoma in 1981 at the age of 36. He left behind the incredible legacy.

Bob Marley and the Wailers - ‘The Capitol Session ’73’ (Official Trailer)

A track from the set — “Slave Driver” — is available to view here on YouTube.

A track from the set — “Stir It Up” — is available to view here on YouTube.

Official Purchase Links