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B Is for Bob ()

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B Is for Bob is ultimately little more than a novelty entry in the bloated catalog that is Bob Marley's, but it has its moments. The gist here is that Ziggy Marley, Bob's oldest son and a major reggae artist in his own right, has taken a dozen of Bob's recordings and remixed (or "reimagined," as the press materials say) all but four of them to appeal to an intended audience of children. Generally, he accomplishes this by stripping out the more pronounced reggae rhythms, lead guitar solos, and such, and giving the tunes a more sparse, primarily acoustic sheen. In some cases, instruments (light percussion, vibes) are added as well, to bring a fuller but softer feel. Recordings that have been familiar to Marley acolytes for decades -- "Jamming," "Redemption Song," "Stir It Up," etc. -- seem strangely unfamiliar, ghosts of their former selves, yet not unappealing -- it's indeed possible that young children might well enjoy them, but were the originals so overpowering that those same kids would have been frightened by them? And what will those children make of some of Marley's lyrics and patois kept intact ("Old pirates, yes they rob I/Sold I to the merchant ships")? Interestingly, Ziggy has left four tunes ("Could You Be Loved," "Lively Up Yourself," "One Love," "Wake Up and Live") alone, leaving the adult wondering why he felt those were safe while some of his father's other songs needed a kid-friendly tune-up. ~ Jeff Tamarkin, Rovi Hide synopsis

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