Bunny Wailer

Time Will Tell: A Tribute to Bob Marley

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When the Wailers split up and Bob Marley went on to international stardom as a solo artist, Peter Tosh developed an even greater anger and cynicism than he'd shown during his years as a Wailer. Bunny Livingston, however, grew increasingly spiritual and mystical, even as he maintained an interest in political and love songs. Arguably the most mature singer of the group, he also provided some of the early Wailers' best tunes, including "Dreamland" and the archetypal rudeboy anthem "Let Him Go." Time Will Tell is one of several Bob Marley tributes Bunny has recorded, and it's a fine effort, albeit one that points up the terrible hole left in the reggae world by Marley's death -- though Bunny sings beautifully, it's impossible not to miss Marley's rough, supremely expressive voice on tracks like "Soul Rebel" and "Slave Driver." Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare lead an all-star session band through arrangements that are almost too faithful for comfort; if Bunny had made a more personal statement with the material, perhaps the album wouldn't be so haunted by Bob. But even so, this is a beautiful and touching tribute from one master to another.

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