Grub Cooper; Niney The Observer; Ricky Walters; Rita Marley; Steve Golding
Number of Discs
48m : 15s
Album Notes and Credits
Photographer: Johnny Black.
Rita Marley's Sings Bob Marley...and Friends isn't the long-awaited return to recording fans have waited for, but a collection of previously released material recorded and influenced by her late husband. The "...and Friends" probably comes from the fact that the handful of Rita albums to choose from don't include enough Bob-proper material to fill a collection. It's what makes the record so great, giving you more the essence of the Marley family and dynasty than a dry runthrough of the hits could. Rita relies quite a bit on Bob's early soulful recordings, many from the groundbreaking Lee "Scratch" Perry sessions. Including the Bunny Wailer-penned "Who Feels It Knows It" is a nice move since it was such a pivotal moment for the Wailers, and Rita nails it. "Who Colt the Game" is another early cut that Rita actually improves on, and "So Much Things to Say" feels livelier than it did on Bob's Exodus. "The Beauty of God's Plan" may not have been recorded by Bob, but its inclusion can be seen as perfect tribute to the Marleys' relationship, even if the liner notes don't mention or seem to notice it. Shanachie does a shoddy job of packaging and explaining it all, but with great performances all around, it works and tells such a great story in spite of the label. Considering she's a fascinating woman who literally took a bullet for her husband and also tolerated his affairs with numerous women, Rita's tribute contains a welcome amount of her own style and personality. ~ David Jeffries