After playing it positive and safe with his children’s album Family Time, Ziggy Marley returns to more adult-oriented fare with Wild and Free, a pro-cannabis album that’s suitably laid-back, militant, and organic. Helping with the organic is producer Don Was, who surrounds Ziggy with warm tones and good vibes and nothing feeling showy or cold. This enhances the freely developing numbers like “Roads Less Traveled” (a slowly chugging track that sounds inspired by Dad’s classic Wailers’ cut “Exodus”) and “A Sign” (one of those light, bright songs that reminds you Ziggy’s Melody Makers often shared the same new hippie spirit as hip-hop’s Arrested Development). Freedom and marijuana fuel the album as pro-pot advocate Woody Harrelson offers narration on the excellent title track, while “Changes” lead to a “Personal Revolution” and on to enlightenment. A big swerve comes at the end with the eulogy for a prostitute called “Elizabeth,” but there’s little doubt that it’s a songwriting high point for Ziggy, tugging at the heartstrings with a minimal amount of words. Stoned to the bone with Was at the controls means this is one of the more humble and cool offerings in the Ziggy Marley catalog, but those are the same reasons it’s an album to return to, delivering that satisfying Rastaman vibration whenever listeners crave a mellow mood.
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AllMusic Review by David Jeffries