Say “Bob Marley” and it’s kinda like fighting words


Bob + Marley = get sumthin’ started: the party, the loving, the revolution

I was first introduced to Bob Marley through a PBS documentary about one of his concerts.  My mom and dad owned one of his records–yes, literally a large round grooved piece of vinyl.  So there is no question that along with the Manhattans, Third World, Donna Summer, James Cleveland, and Teddy Pendegrass I had heard his music before too.

But it was in the documentary about his concert that I met him.  Cool dude, I thought.  And promptly discarded him for New Edition first and then whatever else came behind them–probably Kwame, De la Soul,  some SWV and Brand Nubian.  Probably in that order.


Then I met A Boy.

A West Indian boy with a baritone voice that did not match his body–which was not my problem.  My problem was walking away from deh dahmn voice.

A Boy and his friends were gathered around their cars doing whatever you do when you hang around cars with music and girls in a campus parking lot.  He said, “Where yuh go-win?”  I gave some flippant remark and turned my back to him, started walking away.  He started singing “Is This Love.”  Yes he pulled out the big guns.  The firing didn’t stop.  It took me a minute–maybe a year or two–to crawl away from the barrage.  Crawl I tell you–knees stayed so weak with his music.  Because there was more after that.

So I decided, as I nursed my skint knees, to buy a tape.  Yes, the plastic contraption with the two eye holes.  I had to have those words:  I wanna love yuh and treat yuh right.

Legend.  I played it until it nearly popped.  But with several more to rotate–Natural Mystic and Buju Banton’s Til Shiloh–it was saved by grace.  Then I got the CD.

I carried matches for the revolution then.  400 years of the same philosophy…

My secreted romanticism was not a secret then.  From the very first time I rest my eyes on you, girl, my heart says follow t’rough…

So it was fitting that I should love Bob Marley’s music.  But the love grew into appreciation and respect–I guess the way all love affairs should probably go.  Bob Marley’s music is a tried and true friend.  I think that’s why so many people from so many walks feel the same way I do.

Me singing out of tune this morning: Is this love, is this love, is this love that I’m feeling?
Why yes Mr. Marley, it is.  It is indeed.  Happy Birthday.


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