Certain Songs #114: Bob Marley & The Wailers – “Put it On”


Album: Burnin’.

Year: 1973.

The last album that Bob Marley & The Wailers released before Bunny & Peter split for solo careers was as good as anything in their catalog, and serves as capstone to their remarkable early 1970s run. 

I rate Burnin’ as slightly less amazing than Catch a Fire mostly because I heard Catch a Fire first and maybe because some of the songs aren’t as special as they were remakes of earlier songs – which, of course, I heard later as I dug into Marley’s pre-Island recordings.

Like “Put it On,” which my iTunes informs me I have five different versions of, ranging from a ska-like version recorded in the late 1960s to an live in-studio version recorded at Capitol Records. Every version is gorgeous: with the possible exception of “Stir it Up,” I think that “Put it On” might just be Bob Marley’s best melody.

While a lot of the songs on Burnin’ were political and militant, “Put it On” was a song about the ability of music to point your soul towards the divine. Of course, since he doesn’t specifically reference music, I guess it could be about ganja, too. ¬†Either way, with Bunny & Peter with Bob every step of the journey, the Barrett brothers providing a steady rock solid bottom and a couple of lovely keyboard solos by Earl Lindo, this version wins out.

Fan-made video for “Put it On”

My Certain Songs Spotify Playlist:

Every “Certain Song” Ever

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