1/  Rebel Music (3 O'Clock Roadblock)          (A.Barrett,Peart)            10.20
  2/  No Woman No Cry                            (Ford)                       4.11
  3/  The Heathen                                (Marley)                     8.37
  4/  Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)            (Cogil,C.Barrett)            5.57
  5/  Waiting In Vain                            (Marley)                     4.42
  6/  So Much Trouble In the World               (Marley)                     4.47
  7/  Exodus                                     (Marley)                     8.57
  8/  Burnin' and Lootin'                        (Marley)                     4.10
  9/  Is This Love                               (Marley)                     4.31
  10/ One Love (People Get Ready)                (Marley)                     4.14
  11/ Midnight Ravers                            (Marley)                     6.24

          Created at Greenpoint Studio, Brooklyn, New York
          Remix production by Bill Laswell
          Creative direction and concept: Chris Blackwell
Bob Marley: guitar, vocals; Joe Higgs: percussion; Aston "Family Man" Barrett: bass, percussion; Carlton (Carly) Barrett: drums, percussion; Al Anderson: lead guitar; Julian (Junior) Marvin: lead guitar, backing vocal; Tyrone Downie: keyboards, percussion, backing vocal; Alvin "Seeco" Patterson: percussion; Earl "Wya" Lindo: keyboards, percussion, backing vocal; Earl "Chinna" Smith: lead and rhythm guitar, percussion; Donald Kinsey: lead guitar; Touter: piano, organ; (8,11) Bunny Livingston: congas, bongos, vocals; Peter Mackintosh: piano, organ, guitar, vocals; I THREES - Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths and Judy Mowatt: backing vocals; Aiyb Dieng (6): percussion; Tetsu Inoue (3,4,5): electronic sounds.

Material strings on track 4 arranged and conducted by Karl Berger

          1997 - Axiom/Island (USA), PRCD 7567-2 (Promo CD)
          1997 - Axiom/Island (USA), 314-524 419-1 (2x12")
          1997 - Axiom/Island (USA), 314-524 419-2 (CD)


This latest opus from Mr. Laswell's studio just totally rocks the planet. Or, rather, soothes the planet. Really simple formula; new takes on old Bob Marley tracks with long, lazy Ambient transitions. But, wow... Bill just has an absolute way with his bass. He hits a chord, and your butt is just planted on the sofa, a big grin stretched across your face. Mr. Inoue even gets thrown into the fray! Loaned this one to 'normal folk' at work, and they paid it high compliments...think it just went into mass release, so grab your copy before the competition finds out.

Dan Foley (courtesy of the Ambience For the Masses website)


It's a fact: Bob Marley won't be recording any new music. It's also a fact that, since his death in 1981, Marley sold more albums did while living on the planet earth. There have been three 'best of' packages and several theme CDs (Talkin' Blues, Rebel Music) in the past few years. All of which sold well, demonstrating not only the continuing power of Marley's music but also the public's desire for some decent reggae. Fact of the matter is, no one has come close to taking over the throne on which the King of Reggae, the Honorable Robert Nesta Marley, resided for so many years. So we keep getting new packages of old Marley music.

Dreams of Freedom is the first posthumous Marley release to readily experiment with his recordings, reworking them into ambient versions that sound a bit like Spiritualized visits the Third World. Oddly enough, it's an experiment that works for a couple of reasons: Marley was such a great songwriter and singer that no spacy overdubs or eerie-sounding background vocals can detract from that. Plus, producer Bill Laswell has a unmistakable respect for the Tuff Gong's music and did his best to reinterpret Marley's songs without being exploitative.

The selection of songs on Dreams of Freedom is an interesting mix. There's a few of the 'softer' Marley favorites like a dreamy, piano-sprinkled "Waiting In Vain" - one of four songs without Marley's vocal lead - as well as a hearty dose of the more militant music that Island was always hesitant to promote while Marley was alive, including "Burnin' and Lootin'," and "Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)." On the more strident songs, Laswell wisely took a more strident approach to the mix, with the omnipresent reggae 'chinka-chinka' rhythm being pushed along by cosmic guitars and echo-laden backing vocals. For new instrumental bits, Laswell recruited some stellar musicians, including Japanese keyboardist Tetsu Inoue and Senegalese percussionist Aiyb Dieng who add subtle, graceful touches. Laswell wisely chose not to cut up Marley's vocals on any of the tracks. He removed them entirely on a few songs - letting the I-Threes wail in the background - yet the memory of Marley's voice seems woven throughout the album, even on the songs where it's physically absent.

Some hardcore Marley fans may find this dreamy, and at times eerie approach to his music hard to handle, but it does add something new to the Marley mystique. Island has said that Dreams of Freedom will be the first installment of an opened-ended series in which various producers and remixers will reinterpret Marley's songs. It'll be a tough act to follow.

Nicole Pensiero (courtesy of the earSHOT website)