Squawk Radio

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Liz on How to Enjoy a Cheap Vacation

I’m going to be mailing a book this week, which can only mean one thing: I need a vacation real bad. Unfortunately, I’ve already had the only thing that’s going to pass for a vacation this year, so I’m going to have to make do with a pina colada (or two...or ten) on the deck. Fortunately, I have Bob Marley’s “Legend” to listen to while I’m out there sipping, so it will ALMOST be like going to the Caribbean. (Well, except for the egregious lack of beach and ocean and having to make do with the frozen shrimp from Kroger. After enough pina coladas, I won’t even notice.)

I read somewhere that the term “reggae” was a Jamaican term that meant “raggedy everyday” stuff and was made popular by a Toots and the Maytals song back in the 60s. The genre itself came about when a number of musical styles collided on Jamaica--Caribbean and African rhythms, mostly, but Ska and Rock Steady were influential, too. Bob Marley is probably the artist who made the music popular beyond the Caribbean, but there are several different subgenres of reggae still cropping up on the island (and leaving for northern climes) even today.

If you only buy one reggae album in your lifetime (though, honestly, why would you only buy one?), this should be it. Bob Marley is the master of the genre and wrote some of the most memorable, most poignant, most evocative (and hey, danceable, too) reggae music ever. It’s totally accessible to even the most casual listener, mellow to the point where it can even bring peace of mind to neurotic, anxious, about-to-mail-a-book writers. And “Legend” is a collection of the best of what is already exceptionally good music. The best of Bob Marley. Which is actually kind of redundant, ya ask me.

It’s just all good. Every last number. And it covers the spectrum of the human experience. You have love songs in “Is this Love?” and “Waiting in Vain,” songs of celebration in “Jammin’” and “Stir It Up,” songs of protest in “Buffalo Soldier” and “Get Up, Stand Up,” songs for the soul in “Redemption Song” and “One Love,” even a song that just celebrates the joy of being alive in “Three Little Birds.” There’s no way you can listen to this album and not feel better afterward.

So break out the lawn chairs, fire up the blender, and put some Bob Marley on the CD player. You be jammin’ in no time. I promise, mon.
Elizabeth Bevarly, 10:51 AM