Like no one before him, Bob Marley (1945-1981) put Reggae
music on the map. The 1973 release of “Catch a Fire” was
his first album with “The Wailers,” and brought this music
to the masses.
On “Classic Albums: Bob Marley and the Wailers – Catch a Fire,”
Chris Blackwell, the former head of Island Records and the
producer of this album, shared his memories of making this
record. Blackwell was joined by many others on this DVD that
was shot during 1999, and released in 2006 by Eagle Rock
Entertainment. Much film footage of Marley and others from
the 1970’s is shown here, including many shots of
impoverished, rural Jamaica. A 1973 segment from the BBC
“Old Grey Whistle Test” was shown, as well as other concert
footage and interviews.
Bob Marley’s widow, Rita, was interviewed along with
some of the surviving musicians from the group, including
Bunny Wailer and Ashton “Family Man” Barrett. Recording
engineer Sylvan Morris was featured at the mixing console,
and Wayne Perkins weighed in on dish guitar.
I learned when watching this DVD that prior to Bob Marley,
Reggae music was not only unpopular, but apparently looked
down upon by many people. Although Marley’s role as a
Messianic figure was covered in greater detail in other
documentaries, it was touched upon here, as the main focus
of this disc was the making of “Catch a Fire.”
At a running time of less than 60 minutes and no
bonus features, this DVD is one of the shortest that
I’ve encountered to date in the Classic Albums series.
An extended discography was included, listing numerous
Bob Marley compilations and boxed sets. Although perhaps
not one of the stronger entries in this series, it is still well
worth watching, like all of the Classic Albums DVDs
I’ve seen thus far.