This originally ran in Reggae Report in 1996.
"Soul Almighty" will undoubtedly go down as one of the
most unusual Bob Marley discs ever released. Recorded during
the heyday of Rock Steady, these cuts reveal a side of the
late Reggae legend which will certainly intrigue.
Interesting and informative liner notes from Marley
historian Roger Steffens explain that in late 1966, Johnny
Nash saw "this guy...named Bob Marley" perform at a
spiritual Rastafarian gathering called a "grounation" and
the following day insisted to his partner, Danny Sims, that
they sign him "immediately."
This ultimately led to the recording of numerous
tracks, of which these 16, after incredibly painstaking
restoration, have finally been released. At the time of
their partnership, the yet-to-be-dreadlocked Marley was
apparently going to be marketed as a soul singer (remember,
Reggae had yet to evolve), and Sims imported - get this -
Aretha Franklin's band to supply the music.
These talented musicians proceeded to learn Rock Steady
and the results are quite pleasing. The majority of the
soul-injected tunes are well-known Marley compositions,
beginning with an excellent version of "Rock Steady" and
moving through such classics as "Bend Down Low," "Put It
On," "Mellow Mood," "How Many Times," "Nice Time" and the
title track. You'll also find some rare R&B songs not penned
The bottom line with "Soul Almighty" is if you're
unfamiliar with the greatness of Marley's work on the Island
label, this disc can wait. But if you're a devoted fan, and
- like myself - crave everything Robert Nesta Marley has
ever recorded, then this one is a must hear.
Just wanted to add that I reviewed this before it became a CD-ROM,
and it is outstanding. Hours of info on Marley! Highly recommended.
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