Archive | Feb 23, 2015

Certain Songs #115: Bob Marley & The Wailers – “No Woman, No Cry (Live)”


Album: Live!

Year: 1975.

This recording is a miracle. Oh sure,  maybe there was a giant video screen instructing the audience to slowly sing “No woman, no cry” all the way through the song or maybe (a la Frampton Comes Alive) the audience was overdubbed later, I don’t even care.  

What I care about is what it sounds like. And what it sounds like is one of the most beautiful communal musical moments every created. So when they all get to the bridge:

Everything’s gonna be all right!
Everything’s gonna be all right!
Everything’s gonna be all right, yeah!
Everything’s gonna be all right!

There is absolutely no doubt that everything is going to be all right.

And so while I think that Marley’s music suffered when released from the creative tension supplied by Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston, at least for this recording with the I-Threes providing the response to his call – as well as the handclaps, never forget the handclaps – Bob Marley as the band leader as community leader, as the fucking prophet behind an entire form of music rings as loud and as true as anything he’s ever recorded.

I saw The Wailers once. It was after Marley died, so it was Junior Marvin and the Wailers at the Star Palace in Fresno. I wasn’t expecting much, and probably only went because I was on the guest list. 

But Carlton Barrett, man. Even before I played drums, I watched the drummer the most during just about any concert, and I can tell you that Carlton Barrett was the greatest drummer I’ve ever seen in person. It seemed to me that he wasn’t so much keeping time, but rather, altering time. He was simultaneously playing the beat and completely destroying it. It was fucking amazing. Like this song.

Fan-made video for “No Woman, No Cry”

My Certain Songs Spotify Playlist:

Every “Certain Song” Ever