Bob Marley & The Wailers’ Exodus has already been afforded the Deluxe Edition treatment. With a previously-released two disc set including extra studio tracks and live recordings from the original release period of 1977, the real necessity of an ‘Anniversary Edition’ comes into question since this latest release adds no new music and only little except in terms of its packaging: a faux grain slip-sleeve and slightly more ornate jewel case.
But is it possible to give too much attention to a piece of work so significant as Exodus? In the wake of its debut thirty years ago, this album consolidated once and for all Bob Marley’s stature as the first globally popular Third World music figure. He would eventually be criticized by purists for watering down his music as well as his message, but the accessible appeal of “Jammin" is merely the slightest of the undeniable virtues of Exodus.
The colorful production, by Marley & the Wailers themselves, enhances every facet of the band. The mix highlights The Barrett Brothers’ impeccable rhythm section as much as the horns and the singing of the I-Threes. Hear the insistent vocal delivery of Marley himself proffering the inquisitive lyrics of the title song, then notice the way Junior Marvin’s guitar mimics gunfire in a ghostly way on “The Heathen.” Recall this album was recorded while the Jamaican icon was in exile after an assassination attempt.
Exodus 30th Anniversary Edition might’ve been more comprehensive on its own terms had some additional historical context been included. It would only take a cogent essay to chronicle Marley’s rise to popularity as well as his unconventional battle with cancer (not to mention his fascination with soccer depicted in the photos in the cd booklet) and thus frame a complete picture of one of contemporary music’s most influential figures.