Rolling Stone - 4/12/73, p.62
"...lilting tunes of hypnotic character... mature, fully realized sound with a beautiful lyric sensibility...fresh, vibrant music...remarkable polish..."
Uncut - 11/01, p.1305 stars out of 5
- "...The Wailers' masterpiece..."
The Wire - 5/01, p.73
"...Marks the first-time release of the original Jamaican recordings....with a remix from the master tapes by Errol Brown..."
Down Beat - 1/02, p.46
Included in Downbeat's "Best CDs of 2001".
Bob Marley/Bob Marley & the Wailers: Bob Marley; Aston Barrett (bass instrument); Peter McIntosh, Bunny Livingston (background vocals); Carlton "Carly" Barrett.
Personnel: Bob Marley (vocals, acoustic guitar); Peter McIntosh (vocals, guitar, piano, organ); Bunny Livingston (vocals, congas, bongos); Wayne Perkins (guitar); John "Rabbit" Bundrick (Clavinet, organ, synthesizer); Tyrone Downie (organ); Aston Barrett (bass guitar); Carlton "Carly" Barrett (drums); Winston Wright, Chris Karan (percussion); Marcia Griffiths, Rita Marley (background vocals).
Additional personnel: Robbie Shakespeare (bass instrument); Francisco Willie Pep (percussion); John "Rabbit" Bundrick, Marcia Griffiths, Rita Marley, Tyrone Downie, Wayne Perkins, Winston Wright, Chris Karan.
Recording information: Dynamic Sound Studios, Kingston, Kingston, Jamaica; Harry Jay's Recording Studio, Kingston, Jamaica; Island Studios, London, England; Randy's Studio 17, Kingston, Jamacia; Randy's Studio 17, Kingston, Jamaica.
Photographers: Adrian Boot; Arthur Gorson.
Arranger: Bob Marley.
It is nearly impossible to imagine a time when reggae was not part of the cultural currency. Though Bob Marley and the Wailers cannot be said to have invented the style, they certainly brought it to the world stage, and this album was the torch that lit the way. CATCH A FIRE hit with the force of a revelation when it was released in 1973, and though Chris Blackwell tailored its sound with a rock audience in mind, the album was still unlike anything that had ever come down the pike. Ironically, even given its relatively full production and electric guitar solos, CATCH A FIRE sounds more organic and rootsy than any of the Wailers' subsequent releases.
While the percolating rhythms and burbling bass lines of the Barrett brothers, and the sweet, impeccable harmonies of Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer soothe and move, CATCH A FIRE also introduces the conscious, politically minded themes that would remain at the center of Marley's songwriting for the rest of his career. "Concrete Jungle," one of the towering standout tracks, addresses the trap of inner cities, while "Slave Driver" and "400 Years" take on racial/historical issues. Yet Marley's penchant for gorgeous love songs is evident here too on his all-time classic "Stir It Up." Even after everything that followed, and the cult of idolatry that formed around Marley, this remains soulful, message-driven music that goes straight to the blood. Utterly essential.