Various Artists: Putumayo Presents Tribute to a Reggae Legend

Various Artists: Putumayo Presents Tribute to a Reggae Legend
A simple Google search turns up a plethora of Bob Marley tribute albums. Obviously a legend in his genre, Marley deserves more than one (hell, Weezer has at least three). But it does mean that every new Marley tribute album needs to attempt to bring something new to the table. Putumayo has long been one of the foremost world music labels, so they deliver this internationally flavored tribute.
The tribute includes artists from the continental United States, Hawaii, Canada, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, India, and Sierra Leone. Bands such as Santa Barbara quartet Rebultion, Brazilian singer CéU, South African Afro-fusion band Freshlyground, legendary American folk singer Jonathan Edwards, Canadian singer/songwriter Julie Crochetière, and international Playing for a Change project.
Generally, the best part of tribute albums is listening to people adapt an artist’s songs into their own music. Some artists deliver very traditional arrangements. Like French Canadian singer Caracol does not do much to spice up “Could You Be Loved”. Despite singing most of her studio albums in French, she performs the song in English with much of the same instrumental as Marley used. Other artists like Canadian band Northern Lights perform a completely non-reggae version of “Waiting in Vain”. The track is turned into an acoustic folk track that listeners would have no idea was written by Marley if the song was presented by itself.
Unfortunately not enough bands take the initiative of Northern Lights and the tribute, as a whole, remains pretty faithful to the originals. I can see how this would make for a boring for Bob Marley fans. Overall, the tribute seems pretty mediocre to me; there are a couple solid renditions but overall nothing too special going on.
Rating: 6.1/10
MP3: Northern Lights featuring Jonathan Edwards “Waiting In Vain”

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