Written by Bob Marley and produced by Lee “Scratch” Perry using a primitive rhythm box during the period from 1968-1972, “Rainbow Country” is one of Bob’s best. “Rainbow Country” is one of the first recorded tunes to use a primitive drum box, and it was recorded during perhaps The Wailers most prolific recording period. It is a song which many casual fans associate with Bob’s children, namely Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. The Melody Makers cover this tune brilliantly on their under-rated 1991 release “Jahmekya.”
On a personal note, I have a special affinity for this album because it was released on May 28, 1991, just weeks before I graduated from high school. It was the soundtrack for that summer. I, like most, did not realize at the time that the tune was a cover. I just chalked it up as another Melody Makers modern masterpiece, which they seemed to be putting to wax almost weekly during this time. So prolific were the Melody Makers from 1987-1991 that I cannot think of another reggae group who have put together such a catalog in as short a period.
Here are just a few versions of “Rainbow Country” through the years.
Bob Marley 1974 (Lee Perry)
Augustus Pablo “Rainbow Melodica Dub” (1970-71)
Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers (1991)
ZM&MM Live 2000