Thursday, 28 February 2013
Top 102 Albums. No 44. Exodus
Top 102 Albums. No 44
Exodus. Bob Marley and The Wailers
"the Wailers will be there
the Damned, the Jam, the Clash
Maytals will be there
Dr. Feelgood too"
I have just had a long hard night of soul searching. I have been improvising this list up to now from a list of favourite albums around 200 strong. It was always going to be difficult to get 200 into 102 but quite how difficult I didn't fully appreciate. As I went along I had been marking some for my Top Ten and others for my Top Thirty (although some of these have appeared already as the mood has taken me). However when I decided it was time to actually try to fill the remaining 44 places I found that my Top Ten had twenty albums in it and my Top Thirty another sixty or so. And all this without doing a flick through my record collection to remind me of those that have somehow gotten forgotten.
There were albums I just can't stomach leaving out and no matter how I embraced difficult decisions - ("Hey Velvet Underground we've already had Cale and Reed so here's the door.") I couldn't reach a compromise which would allow me to even think of sleep. I started to feel like Ireland. OK, there's nothing for you here, why don't you just emigrate?
OK, I thought, this is many steps up the stairs to the landing of crazy people. You've got a problem on a scale of the alien invasion fleet who were eaten by a dog in The Hitchhikers Guide.. Take a deep breath and break the rules. At first I thought of grouping two or three connected albums under one position on the 'chart' but this was only going to mean even more perfunctory posts on many albums so then I decided to break through the fourth wall and make this list open ended.
So now I am heading towards No 1 in the knowledge that the 'real No.1 will be No. 0 and that after zero we hit the negative numbers, which are, after all, just imaginary numbers squared. And so my circle is squared and I can get back to just listing favourite albums, without the fear that I am excluding more deserving albums, without having to make impossible choices that will keep me awake at night.
After stemming the need for one exodus I thought I'd pick Bob Marley's classic of that name for what could be more uplifting than this celebration of unity and understanding. And in the spirit of my new found inclusivity I have to admit this is one album that has benefitted from bonus tracks - what album wouldn't benefit from the addition of Punky Reggae Party? I'm now considering it the unofficial theme tune of this list. There is space for everyone. I am redeemed!
Redemption Song - Not on Exodus but you can never hear it too often!
Bob was the closest we got to a prophet, full of love and understanding and using religion as a parable rather than a series of diktats. Here Jesus Christ and Marcus Garvey stand side by side pointing out the "inhumanity" of our poor forked species. But there is so much love and understanding here that the indignation never raises your blood pressure. Instead you can feel your heartbeat slowing down and a smile blossoming on your face.
I read somewhere that this is supposedly the best music to play in a car. It certainly doesn't seem to inhabit the same world as road rage, although it has space for righteous anger.
"Say: Woe to the downpressors:
They'll eat the bread of sorrow!
Woe to the downpressors:
They'll eat the bread of sad tomorrow!"