“How many rivers do we have to cross before I can tour with the Boss?”


As someone who has spent years researching the lives and careers of the great reggae artists of our time, its always great to come across some piece of new information that I never knew before.  While going through my press archives, searching for something to share here, I came across this article from the November 20, 1976 issue of New Musical Express.  The article announces a sweeping 1977 world tour co-headlined by Bruce Springsteen and Bob Marley.  According to the article, Marley and Springsteen had already signed off on a deal that would put them on the road together touring the US in the spring of 1977.  At the time of the printing of this paper, negotiations were underway that would have them continue the North American tour into Europe in the summer of 1977.

There is a story behind these two artists, who first met three years earlier in July 1973 when the Wailers opened for Springsteen over a six-night run at Max’s Kansas City in NYC.  Both men were relatively unknown in 1973 but wowed the New York crowd, which was filled mostly with rock journalists and newspaper reporters.



Review of the Max's Kansas City show from Variety, July 18, 1973

Review of the Max’s Kansas City show from Variety, July 18, 1973

Previously unpublished review of the Max's Kansas City Show by Lorraine O'Grady, Village Voice, 1973

Previously unpublished review of the Max’s Kansas City Show by Lorraine O’Grady, Village Voice, 1973

By 1976, both men had emerged as supremely talented musicians and songwriters, each backed by a tight band of talented musicians.  Each were playing mid-sized venues and universities during their respective 1976 tours of North America. It is true that Springsteen enjoyed a much wider appeal with his style of rock and folk in the US, while Marley was still trying to sell his brand of uniquely style rock ‘n roll – roots, rock, reggae – to broadcast radio and fickle rock fans in the States.  Had this tour gone off as it was envisioned it would certainly have had an incalculable impact on Marley’s trajectory as a rising worldwide star in popular music.


The tour would not go off as planned.  On December 3, 1976 while preparing to play the Smile Jamaica festival in Marley’s home Kingston, Jamaica, he, his wife, and members of their entourage were ambushed at Marley’s home at 56 Hope Road by five assailants, Marley and his wife barely escaping with their lives.  The Gong would go on to bravely play the concert on December 5, 1976 – with a bullet lay lodged in his body, a performance which was the best of his storied career and in my opinion one of the finest and most noteworthy performances in the history of popular music.  Marley left the island for London immediately after the performance and would not perform again until May 10, 1977 when he played the Pavillon Baltard, Paris, France.  He would not return to Jamaica until April 1978.

These photos, my favorite live photos ever taken of Bob Marley, were snapped by photographer Alex Webb at SMILE JAMAICA National Heroes Arena, December 5, 1976.

Bob Marley, Smile Jamaica, December 5, 1976 (Photo: Alex Webb)

Bob Marley, Smile Jamaica, December 5, 1976 (Photo: Alex Webb)

Bob Marley, Smile Jamaica, December 5, 1976 (Photo: Alex Webb)

Bob Marley, Smile Jamaica, December 5, 1976 (Photo: Alex Webb)

Bob Marley, Smile Jamaica, December 5, 1976 (Photo: Alex Webb)

Bob Marley, Smile Jamaica, December 5, 1976 (Photo: Alex Webb)

Bob Marley, Smile Jamaica, December 5, 1976 (Photo: Alex Webb)

Bob Marley, Smile Jamaica, December 5, 1976 (Photo: Alex Webb)

Bob Marley, Smile Jamaica, December 5, 1976 (Photo: Alex Webb)

Bob Marley, Smile Jamaica, December 5, 1976 (Photo: Alex Webb)

Chalawa ‘Exodus In Dub’ (Sky Note)

Here is a long out-of-print vinyl LP for your listening enjoyment.  The entire EXODUS album in dub.  As good a dub record of these legendary tunes as you will find, however, falling way short of the originals, Exodus in Dub was released by Sky Note in 1977 on the heels of Marley’s magnum opus.  Re-issued on the Micron label in 1978.

Transferred to SoundCloud from vinyl in FLAC.  Highest quality available.


“Waiting In Vain” versions

Included here is a collection of very rare Bob Marley and the Wailers’ “Waiting In Vain” demos, alternates, and mixes.

“Waiting in Vain” is a song written by reggae musician Bob Marley and recorded by Bob Marley & The Wailers, for his 1977 album Exodus. Released as a single, it hit number twenty-seven in the UK Singles Chart. As noted on the compilation album Rebel Music and on Deluxe Edition of Exodus, “Roots” is the b-side of “Waiting in Vain”.


1. Waiting In Vain (March 1977 Demo)
2. Waiting In Vain (Demo)
3. Waiting In Vain (Alternate)
4. Waiting In Vain (Sons of Jah Mix)
5. Waiting In Vain (I-Threes)

“Waiting In Vain” was not a regular part of the touring set list, however, it has been recorded live, for example, in Montreal 1978.

Ziggy Marley “Exodus” 7 inch vinyl single (7 Star Riddim)

So I just got this Ziggy Marley 7″, well actually the 7″ has Sizzla on Side A and Ziggy Marley on the flip.  This DJ 7 Star riddim is so heavy (some may recognize it from Alpha Blondy’s “Jerusalem,” albeit with a slightly different twist).  Both sides of this 7″ rattle de place!
Update:  Side B is not Ziggy Marley.  Imposta!  Waiting to hear back on who is singing this track.
Sizzla “How It Go”
Ziggy Marley “Exodus”


The Wailers Horn Section plus Exodus & Kaya Horn Mixes (Monitor Mixes)

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.

01 Exodus, 07:58
02 Satisfy My Soul, 01:58
03 Satisfy MY Soul (continues), 03:04
04 Misty Morning, 04:03
05 Natural Mystic, 03:37
06 Running Away, 04:19
07 Turn Your Lights Down Low, 04:19
08 Is This Love, 04:22
09 Jamming, 03:35
10 Guiltiness, 03:38
11 Sun Is Shining, 05:51
12 Kaya, 03:50
13 Crisis, 04:09
14 Easy Skanking, 04:13
15 So Much Things To Say, 03:25
01 Exodus
02 Guiltiness
03 Roots
04 She’s Gone
05 Waiting in Vain
06 Natural Mystic
07 Heathen
08 So Much Things To Say
09 Exodus
10 Jammin’
11 Waiting in Vain
12 Three Little Birds
13 One Love
14 Satisfy My Soul
14 Satisfy My Soul
15 Satisfy My Soul
16 Waiting in Vain
17 Waiting in Vain

“Movement of Jah people…”

Here we have several rarely heard versions from the Exodus album, which was voted by Time magazine as the album of the millenium.

1. Exodus Advert
2. Natural Mystic (Countryman Version)
3. Exodus (12″ mix)

Jamaica Gleaner, June 27, 1977

Rolling Stone, July 14, 1977


‘Sons of Jah Rehearsal Tape,’ London, 1977

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the MIDNIGHT RAVER BLOG, I feel obligated to share something special with those of you who have supported us over the past year.  So this week I hope to share a few things that the average reggae fan will find intriguing. 

Today, I’m sharing the “Sons of Jah Rehearsal Tape.”  This tape is an excellent audio outtake from a Bob Marley and the Wailers rehearsal session from 1977.  The band is touring Europe in support of the Exodus album.  Of note on this recording is a sublime version of “Waiting In Vain.”

According to my good friend and MIDNIGHT RAVER BLOG contributor Fred at http://voiceofthesufferers.fr, the Sons of Jah are a reggae music group based in England, created by Trevor Bow (who created the Natty Congo label as well).  Trevor Bow was friends with Bob Marley.  His home in London was at Talbot Road.  Based on the name given this tape, itis likely that the Sons of Jah (Trevor Bow, Howard Haughton, Bunny Mckenzie, Derrick Donaldson) were present for this session.

The Sons of Jah released 4 albums between 1978 and 1982 and disbanded in the mid-80s. 

It is noted by Werner (Wailers collector), Stephen Davis did few lines regarding a special session held in 1977 with the 4 first tracks we have here.  It is referenced in his book ‘Bob Marley – Conquering Lion Of Reggae.’

Bob Marley and the Wailers
The Sons of Jah Acoustic Tape
London 1977

01 – Exodus
02 – Jammin
03 – Waiting In Vain
04 – So Much Things To Say
05 – Misty Morning
06 – She’s Gone
07 – Time Will Tell
08 – Unknown Jam
09 – Rainbow Country


“This tape starts off with Exodus that is probably from a different session but it is included on here because it fits in well and it is often included in most sources of this session.   Sons of Jah is a tape that just sits with you forever.  The sweet version of Waiting in Vain that last’s 19 minutes is just stunning.  Bob Works with his voice so many different ways and by the end he is really in a great groove.  Half way through So Much Things To Say there is a source switch.  Another half of this tape was discovered a few years ago but someone has tampered with the sound.  There is a strange echo and other effects added on but the music below is just amazing.  Acoustic versions of Misty Morning and She’s Gone have been a collector’s dream for many years I am sure.  The tape ends with an unknown jam that is possibly not even Bob but who knows. It has been included just in case. “

Bob Marley and the Wailers: Top Of The Pops

Top of the Pops, also known as TOTP, is a British music chart television program, made by the BBC and originally broadcast weekly between 1 January 1964 and 30 July 2006. It was traditionally shown every Thursday evening on BBC One, before being moved to Fridays in 1996, and then moved to Sundays on BBC Two in 2005. Each weekly program consisted of performances from some of that week’s best-selling popular music artists, with a rundown of that week’s singles chart. Additionally, every year there was a special edition of the program on Christmas Day featuring some of the best-selling singles of the year.

Bob Marley and the Wailers appeared on British music show ‘Top Of The Pops’ twice.  Their first appearance was on June 9, 1977 during their European Exodus tour.  They played a flawless rendition of “Exodus” for the crowd.

Their next appearance was on June 22, 1978, where they played Satisfy My Soul from the Kaya album.

He is credited with having played the Pops on January 26, 1978, however, there was no live performance.  The show just played their performance of “Jammin'” from the Rainbow ’77 concert tape.

Robberies, Violence During Rastaman Vibration Tour

It is early spring 1977 in LondonBob Marley recently arrived from Jamaica, fleeing for his life after an assassination attempt at his home in December 1976.  He is also there to finalize Exodus, the album that will break The Wailers internationally. He is also planning to tour the UK during the summer of 1977. 

There’s one problem though.

Several venues have banned Jamaican musicians from performing because of robberies and violence during the Rastaman Vibration tour in 1976.

Jamaica Gleaner, March 1, 1977

Bob Marley, 1977