Another new dose of reggae today, with Wailers legend Bunny Wailer and his debut album, “Blackheart Man”. Sadly, we lost Bunny earlier this year at the age of 73. This record is rated #4 on rateyourmusic.com’s Top 10 Reggae Albums of All Time.
As much as I enjoy reggae music, if I had any knock against it, it would be the somewhat repetitive sound of each song. The best ones obviously find a way to introduce variation and unique structures to their songs, and I heard a lot of that on this album. Additionally, the vocal style of Bunny was different than any other reggae singer I have encountered. At times, it almost felt as if I was listening to a Jamaican crooner, with a reggae back-beat coming from around the turn. His enunciation and delivery were just very unique, and many of the songs, including the first one, the title track, had a very unusual evolution of chords and keys. In particular, I really enjoyed the last song, “This Train”, and the one right before it, “Bide Up”. Like the other artists of this era, there is a strong linkage to the Rastafarian ways, with a notable focus on the beauty of nature and overcoming oppression.
It is amazing to think about Marley, Tosh, and Bunny Wailer all coming from the same group. It is easy to say they are the Lennon, McCartney and Harrison of the reggae surge. Like most of the top-notch reggae music I have experienced here, it was a mellow and pleasant listen and another opened door for my moments of beach life and sunshine.