Today I am sharing the Exodus and Kaya Horn Mixes. These audio files consist of tracks from the Exodus and Kaya albums mixed with a horn section, which Bob Marley began to experiment with while recording the Exodus album in 1977. He would use horns for his remaining studio albums, with their greatest and most persistent use on the Survival album. The horn section added another dimension to Marley’s ever-evolving musical catalog, much like the rock guitar did on the Natty Dread and Rastaman Vibration albums.
The Wailers horn section originated with Jamaican trombone and saxophone players Vin Gordon and David Madden who played on the albums Natty Dread and Rastaman Vibration. It would later include Glen Da Costa, David Madden, and the Zap Pow horns. These players are featured prominently on the DVD The Legend Live: Santa Barbara County Bowl, 1979.
Recalls Madden in a 2010 interview with Irie Up:
“Bob called me, ‘David, we have a recording session, do you want to come?’ And of course, I said yes. I didn’t know Bob was going to become any kind of star. He would say, ‘We have a little tour, do you want to come along?’ It was a mixture of professionalism and friendship. We don’t have that superstar air in Jamaica. I might sing the biggest tune yesterday but today I’m still walking down the street. When me and Bob talked, it was because of a session. Or Family Man will say, David, go talk to Bob because he wants to do a session.”Madden’s first work with Marley was on Natty Dread, Marley’s first solo album and arguably his finest. “Well, you know, when he started singing, ‘Dread, knotty dread,’ I can hear 150 different horn lines! I might play one, and they say, ‘Yeah man, that sound great!’ Madden and the other horn players were paid for the sessions but were not credited with writing parts.“Well, you see, when we reach the studio, the song is already done. It is all there. When you hear a song, the thing is to be able to say, you know, there is a part there that would sound better with horns. I am hearing that there is something that would sound better than if it was left alone. So for them guys, Marley and those, just for thinking to put some order in that tune, to bring it up some more, well that is genius in them.”“But as for what to play there, they don’t know. That is where we come in. They weren’t able to tell us what to play. But because of being in the studio and working and all the practice that we do, we are hearing things. So when we come and they say, alright, roll the song, and we start to play, they say ‘Damn! Here! Yes!’ and the tune go up and it is a hit!”Madden has happy memories of his work with Marley. “I played on 17 of the hit songs of Bob Marley. Songs like ‘Natty Dread’, ‘So Jah Say’, ‘Rat Race’, ‘War’, ‘Guiltiness’, ‘Buffalo Soldier’, ‘Is This Love’, ‘Smile Jamaica’.” The Zap Pow horns also became the Wailer’s horns section in studio sessions and tours.