2 LP on 1 CD
## 1-10 'Survival' 1979 (3*) Tuff Gong
Containing what is considered Marley's most defiant and politically charged statement to date, Survival concerns itself with the expressed solidarity of not only Africa, but of humanity at large. The album was controversial right down to the jacket, which contains a crude schematic of the stowage compartment of a typical transatlantic slave ship. Survival is intended as a wake-up call for everyman to resist and fight oppression in all of its insidious forms. From Tyrone Downie's opening synthesizer strains on "So Much Trouble in the World" to the keyboard accents emerging throughout "Zimbabwe," the sounds of Survival are notably modern. The overwhelming influence of contemporary African music is also cited with the incorporation of brass, б la Fela Kuti and his horn-driven Africa '70. While "Top Rankin'," "Ride Natty Ride," and "Wake Up and Live" are the most obvious to benefit from this influence, there are other and often more subtle inspirations scattered throughout. Survival could rightly be considered a concept album. Marley had rarely been so pointed and persistent in his content. The days of the musical parable are more or less replaced by direct and confrontational lyrics. From the subversive "Zimbabwe" - which affirms the calls for the revolution and ultimate liberation of the South African country - to the somewhat more introspective and optimistic "Africa Unite," the message of this album is clearly a call to arms for those wanting to abolish the subjugation and tyranny of not only Africans, but all humankind. Likewise, Survival reinforces the image of Marley as a folk hero to those suffering from oppression. The 2001 "Definitive Remaster" of Survival includes a bonus track featuring the 12" extended version of "Ride Natty Ride," previously only available on CD in the Songs of Freedom box set.
- Lindsay Planer (All Music Guide)
## 11-20 'Uprising' 1980 (4.5*) Tuff Gong
Uprising would be the final studio album featuring Bob Marley & the Wailers to be released during Marley's lifetime. Prophetically, it also contains some of the band's finest crafted material, as if they were cogent that this would be their final outing. The album's blend of religious and secular themes likewise creates a very powerful and singular quest for spirituality in a material world. Although it is argued that an album's graphic design rarely captures the essence of the work inside, the powerful rebirthing image of a rock solid Marley emerging with his arms raised in triumph could not be a more accurate visual description of the musical jubilation within. Musically, the somewhat staid rhythms often synonymous with reggae have been completely turned around to include slinky and liquid syncopation. "Work," "Pimper's Paradise," and the lead-off track "Coming in From the Cold" are all significant variations on the lolloping Rasta beat. The major difference is the sonic textures that manipulate and fill those patterns. The inventive and unique guitar work of Al Anderson - the only American member of the original Wailers - once again redefines the role of the lead electric guitar outside of its standard rock & roll setting. "Zion Train" is awash in wah-wah-driven patterns creating an eerie, almost ethereal backdrop against Marley's lyrics, which recollect images from Peter Tosh's "Stop That Train" all the way back on Marley & the Wailers' international debut Catch a Fire. The final track on the original pressing of Uprising is "Redemption Song." Never has an artist unknowingly written such a beautiful and apropos living epitaph. The stark contrast from the decidedly electric and group-oriented album to this hauntingly beautiful solo acoustic composition is as dramatic as it is visionary. Less than a year after the release of Uprising, Marley would succumb to cancer. The 2001 "Definitive Remaster" version of Uprising contains the band version of "Redemption Song" and the 12" mix of "Could You Be Loved."
- Lindsay Planer (All Music Guide)