Release Date: May 95
Chart Position: 17
Keep On Moving comes from Natural Mystic: The Legend Lives On, the second volume of Bob Marley’s greatest hits and neggae’s answer to More Abba Gold. Where More Abba Gold had Ring Ring, Honey Honey and I Do I Do I Do I Do I Do (must have been an echo in there), Natural Mystic had a similar mix of album tracks, overlooked songs and a few modernising remixes.
This is one of the remixes. I’d already heard Keep On Moving in its original form, somewhat underproduced by later standards, cropping up on one of the reggae compilations that were essential to any 90s household – clearly the compilers couldn’t afford Jammin’ or Buffalo Soldier so they scrabbled around for any old track they could get the rights to with the all-important Marley name on it. That version sounded a bit limp when crammed between Sweets For My Sweet and a dubbed out version of I Like To Move It Move It, but the remix has been beefed up to good effect with lots more percussion, trumpets, organ and a sax intro nicked from Baby I Love Your Way (though still preserving the obligatory old school reggae intro-drumroll).
Since there were 14 tracks on Legend, it stands to reason that the single from Legend part 2 would be the 15th best Bob Marley song. That sounds about right, and while it’s no Stir It Up, I certainly enjoyed revisiting it. The embellishments – even the Big Mountain tribute – add to the original song rather than drowning it out, helping Bob’s vocals and songwriting come across to the modern listener as they should – a good example of remixers using their powers for good instead of evil. Lyrically, it strikes me that this could be a sequel to I Shot The Sheriff – it’s a shame there wasn’t (to my knowledge) a third song to finish the story off, which would have been called either Damn They Caught Me or Living Under An Assumed Name In Costa Rica.
Extra note for Ed Sheeran fans only: The B-side to the CD single (which I bought at the time) was Pimpa’s Paradise. As a Bob Marley song that was a bit average, but there’s a brilliant update by his son Damien [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-6Qx8yIKC8] that I believe must have been the direct inspiration for Ed Sheeran’s The A Team. So without Keep On Moving, Ed might not have written the song that kick-started his chart career. Wonder if anyone read this paragraph.
Score: A pleasant, easy skankin’ 7 out of 10.
The Trombone. That is the key reggae horn instrument. The way it slides and bends is the sonic equivalent of the Yardie lean.
Then trumpets – always got to have trumpets. They parp and blast in unison to put some skank in your back as you move to the track.
But sax? Sexy, sophisticated saxophone?
I don’t know. Too Noo Yoik. Too much spiralling. And as Joey the Lips Fagan pointed out in the commitments to Brother Dean ” Soul has corners. You were spiralling. That’s jazz.”
Now we’ve seen a bit of saucy sax earlier on Baby I Love your Way, a song that is my Neggae guilty pleasure; my pressure point. It worked there, in that US Frat-Neggae, tie-dyed, listen-to-slightly-naff-music-because-you’re-a-bit-tipsy-on-holiday kind of way.
But here, stapling what it clearly a 1995 Sax solo onto the original Rasta prophet’s 1971 song of regret and redemption? Doesn’t quite work. It’s like Abigail’s Party with Denise Van Outen instead of Alison Steadman. Like Stevie Wonder duetting with Blue (oh, hang on).
Luckily, it’s a great song. So good that I’m able to forgive and forget the clearly cocaine-addled producer who decided it was a good idea to cover it in this horrid wailing.
It’s another Bob Marley old’un, regurgitated by Team Marley to cash in on the new found popularity thanks to the Neggae explosion.
And do you know what, if the Marley estate want to do that, then let them. He did invent the f*ckin genre. Let them do what they want. And that people, is why this year we should be allowed to win the World Cup. Make all the other teams play with their bad foot. Still probably beat us actually….
Anyway, the original was released in 1971 on the often overlooked and under-rated Soul Revolution LP. Produced by the Legendary Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, it is a beautiful Rock steady groover – telling the tale of Bob having to flee because of a crime HE DID NOT COMMIT. Happens quite a bit in Bob’s songs actually – I think the Rasta doth protest too much.
It was re-released here for Legend II and I think they just about get away with it. Listening to the vocals I assume these are from the same lost tapes as the Iron Lion Zion material (i.e. around 1980 just before his ascension to Zion) , and Sir Bob sounds as majestic as ever.
The I-threes are in fine fettle and when some horns proper finally arrive they sound just dandy. The beats are nicely electronic too without ruining the overall groove of the song.
The video couldn’t be any more 1995 if it tried. Watercolour animations, tie-dyed effects, Silhouettes of Bob dancing in the moonlight. And I swear at one point a magic eye effect revealed a dolphin shagging a unicorn.
This is the last we see of Bob on this list – he started it, he (more or less) finished it. Ta da mate, they don’t make ’em like you any more (welling up here I am.)
Score: 7/10, but I am also going to play my joker and go back and retrospectively change Iron Lion Zion to a 9.
Another disappointing track from Bob. Clearly in the mid nineties the ‘Dead Bob Fund’ was running a little light and they needed to squeeze a few more quid out of the archives. I feel they have sold Bob out a little bit, particularly with the cheesy intro which is a little bit Earth Song in its production. I think that he would have felt a little ashamed at what they had been up to. The track is a bit nothing really, listening to it I feel a little nostalgic, but more lethargic than anything as it sort of goes round and round without any real climax. From what I can tell the song tells the story of Bob being accused of murder. Although he claims his innocence instead of facing the judicial system and letting it runs its course he decides to go on the run from the law leaving his woman and two boys behind. Although he recognises that they will suffer he doesn’t seem that bothered as he hopes to find a piece real estate somewhere and when it all does down they will come a join him and they will all live happily ever after. Bullshit!! They will hate him for leaving them and never want anything to do with him. Do you really think that the real perpetrator will be found in his absence? No! Him going on the run will only fuel the fire of suspicion and result in everyone back home only even more sure of his guilt. I reckon that when he gets in contact his family they will simply inform the sheriff of his whereabouts and bring him to justice. Ah hold on! He shot the fucking sheriff as well! They’ll have to call the deputy! So lets get this right! He has admitted to shooting the sherif and is on the run for suspected murder. I highly doubt his Mrs will touch him with a barge pole! The more I think about it, he’s just a Caribbean Raoul Moat! Its just missing the verse when Michael Holding turns up and offers him a bucket of Jerk Chicken! So this is the second Marley track we have reviewed and they have been maybe two of the worst Neg hits on the list. His team had a shocker in the nineties! Average sound and a stupid tale being told – 3/10 from me.
It’s with a heavy heart I write this week’s review, another nineties rehash of a Marley classic. This for me started the mass commericalisation of his image which has culminated with headphones, Energy Drinks, coffee and Darren Reynolds tribute dolls. I hope Rita used the proceeds to buy a memory foam mattress and pillow because I don’t know how else she’ll sleep at night. The beauty of the original was the rawness of production, the simple catchy bass and understated guitar lick which gave the backing vocals prominence and an almost choral quality, it’s like a Gareth Bale run, simple yet effective.
The rehash starts with a terrible bit of sax which sounds like it should compliment a coffee advert, I can see it now, some bearded clunge dressed like a peaky blinder strolling through a Shoreditch market place greeting his zany unicycle riding mates he passes on his journey, all shot in sepia tinged black and white, I hate him already. Then with the vocals we’re also treated to a clunky artificial beat which has about as much groove as Ellie Goulding’s dancing. The backing vocals come in and they’re completely different to the original so in essence they’ve changed the best bit of the song and made it totes X-factor, all it needs are some pyrotechnics and Sharon Osbourne wittering on about her vagina at the end to complete the effect. The producer has decided to really overegg it as the song goes on and adds some unnecessary organ, horns and various other effects. All that’s missing is the bloke from Clock popping up and doing a rap midway through.
The video looks like something they’ve tried to pitch Enya and she’s responded badly;
‘Lads, dis is shoite, now feck off and and give it to Dana’
So they’ve gone back to the drawing board, cut out the Enya images and added in Bob to compliment this shameless cash in. The only thing this video would be useful for is if Marley Ltd decided to rival Crown and Dulux by bringing out a range of paints as it resembles a paint advert.
I’ve wasted enough time and energy on this so I’ll give it 1/10 for Bob’s vocals, however there is some positive neggae news this week
Bob Marley, a welcome change from some of the skank we’ve had over the last few weeks or dare I say months…. The beauty of Marley is his simple delivery and unique vocals that are instantly recognizable. You know, the same instantly recognizable vocals that Shabba has but instead of that warm feeling you get from listening to a Marley song, with Shabba you get that empty feeling in the pit of your stomach when your feeling queasy. Enough of that, we are her to talk Bob and that’s what we shall do. This is very soothing and song to listen to, however when you dig a little deeper into the lyrics, it doesn’t seem that he’s all too comfortable. Lot’s of looking over his shoulder. I don’t know what he did or what people thought he did but the turmoil is front and center for us to see (similar to the turmoil I’ve experienced recently from the Neggae elders who are far more disciplined than I am and can get a review drafted and finished in a timely manner) Anyway, Bob seems to make the best of it and sends a positive message in his lyrics. Essentially he’s saying “Keep you chin up old boy, things will be alright” The slower pace of this gem is not rushed, just the Bob Marley that we’ve all come to love over the years. His delivery is second to none. I’ve been head bobbing from start to finish. That’s a good thing for my soul (it takes my mind off not only being late with my review but the another polar freeze that’s on the way) In closing, this is a proper choon, excellent delivery, lyrics that mean something, a head bobbing beauty that has me pining for more. Thank you Robert Nesta Marley and please forgive my low score that I gave you for Iron, Lion, Zion. I know nothing (in Manuel from Fawlty Towers speak) A really enjoyable 8.5/10
NEGGAE SCORE: 5.3