Highlights so far:
#47 Johnny Was (Rastaman Vibration)
Like #48 (Pimper’s Paradise) another incredibly conscious tune that focuses on one individual to tell the story of life in the mean streets the world 'round. Bob's singing here even more touching -- whose heart could be so cold as not to be moved by these lyrics and Bob's incredibly soulful voice:
"woman hold her head and cry
cuz her son had been shot down
in the street and died
from a stray bullet"
later Bob writes that she cries cuz he's been shot down--
"just because of the system."
Look how brilliant this is. It says the system is responsible for all kinds of effects, including stray bullets and accidental deaths and hatred and inhumanity to one's brethren/sistren; it is not only about those who die as a direct result of armed invasion or other monstrous actions. Just managing in daily life the System brings so much suffering. As in Iraq, the troops are gone but the horror goes on day by day and "we" pretend "we" have nothing to do with that.
"Gift of Jah is life,
she cried, oh ah,
Johnny was a good man (never did a thing wrong)"
Putting #48 Pimper’s Paradise and #47 Johnny Was together leaves such an incredible legacy, with so much more to go. And over the years Bob's presence only seems to grow more powerful still.
To follow the countdown go to my facebook "book" page for my novel Stir It Up: The CIA Targets Jamaica, Bob Marley and the Progressive Manley Government.