Round 9: WILD CARD

From Howard J:

The Wailers - Lively Up Yourself - Recorded LIVE at The Record Plant, 1973

A few weeks ago, I began reviewing old tapes in an effort to dig up a rare gem from the past. It was really amazing to get back into my tapes, which I spent a considerable amount of time with 20 years ago. I found music long forgotten. As I converted dozens of all but lost nuggets from tape into my computer, I toiled late into the morning, searching for the killer track that would stun and amaze my fellow Sound Clashers.

Exhausted, and with my best old tapes rolling, I finally sat back to relax, and over the speakers roared an unexpected, astonishing revelation, The Wailers – Lively Up Yourself LIVE from The Record Plant Bootlegs. Recorded in Sausalito, CA on one of the Wailers first trips though the US from 1973. There it was, like an 800 lb gorilla rights there in the room.

I had considered Bob and the Wailers almost off limits in this Sound Clash, but hearing the track stacked along side of literally dozens of classic reggae selections, I could not deny the power of the Original Wailers. The Record Plant bootlegs were one of those rare tapes that many Reggae fans had a copy of.  My first listening came by way of Joe. Away at college, while I was still in High School, Joe returned with strange and wonderful treasures one Christmas break, including tales of new art forms, indigenous foliage, and a copy of the Wailers KSAN broadcast on a gold Maxell XLS 90.

The Record Plant Bootlegs had captured The Original Wailers at a time when they were hungry, and out to prove something. Still awash with Rastafarian idealism and raw musicality of the Joe Higgs School; Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, along with Earl ‘Wire’ Lindo and the Barrett Brothers (Familyman and Carlton) throw it down in unprecedented fashion. There is something magical going on with Lindo’s working of the keyboards, and the drum and bass are integrated in a way that perhaps only true brothers could achieve. The Wailers harmony and vocal-play come off in synchronized perfection that is, in my opinion, better than anything they actually captured in the studio. This track is live, raw, tight, and downright perfect.  It's amazing that it was never released to the public. 

While a few tracks from The Record Plant Bootlegs were brought into the mainstream on the Tuff Gong 1991 release of Talking Blues, this particular track has remained hidden. My buddy Jeff from CT recently found this pristine version of the 73 recording, and shared it with me. I had planned on avoiding Marley altogether in this sound clash, but when it came over the speakers, fresh, loud and with an electricity that none of my other selections could touch, I felt compelled to put this lost gem ina de ring.  

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