Skip to main content

Fran and Bob

·326 words·2 mins

Music makes people happier, and it doesn’t harm them. Most things that make you feel better are harmful.
Fran Lebowitz1

I am not sure if Fran Lebowitz is a fan of Bob Marley, or even reggae. In the context of the above quote she said that she instantly becomes happier whenever she hears Motown music. But when I heard her say this, I was immediately reminded of the opening lyrics of Trenchtown Rock by Bob Marley & the Wailers,

One good thing about music
When it hits you (You feel no pain)
Whoa, whoa I say one good thing about music
When it hits you (You feel no pain)
Hit me with music, hit me with music, now
Bob Marley & The Wailers

African Herbsman.
African Herbsman, Bob Marley & The Wailers, originally released in 1973 by Trojan Records

Trenchtown Rock was originally released as a single in 1971 in Jamaica on Marleys own Tuff Gong label. The song was later one of four additional tracks that were repackaged together with the complete Soul Revolution II album as African Herbsman. Trojan Records released this in 1973, after Catch a Fire, also released in 1973 by Island, became a huge success and introduced Bob Marley and the Wailers to a wider international audience.

You can probably guess already that the Wailers discography is complex. For what it’s worth, when I asked ChatGPT about the origin of Trenchtown Rock, it claimed that the song was included in the 1971 album Soul Rebel. Which is actually from 1970, and did not include the song.

So, if you want to dig deeper into the Wailers discography and go beyond the Island years, then I recommend to check out this excellent post, which structures the discography in different periods and provides recommendations how best to cover the essentials and most important tracks from different periods.

  1. in episode 2 Cultural Affairs of the Martin Scorsese produced mini series Pretend It’s a City↩︎