Producer: Bob Marley and The Wailers
Released a year after the seminal Exodus album the year before, yet with songs cobbled from the same sessions, Bob Marley's wonderful Kaya album was all about peace and love. While some hardcore aficionados believed the record soft when compared to past releases, others thought the laidback tracks revealed a well-rounded artist, one who could be both a sonic warrior and introspective observer.
The title track, which Marley had recorded a version of a few years earlier, was inspired after hanging-out with producer Lee Scratch Perry. In 1973, Perry had recorded the original version of the song for his album Soul Revolution Part II.
Not as big a Marley expert as some folks I know, I asked noted writer, teacher and author Vivian Goldman, who penned The Book of Exodus: The Making and Meaning of Bob Marley and the Wailers' Album of the Century (2006), to give her thoughts on Bob's dreamy love song to weed.
“'Kaya' fulfills Marley's aesthetic criteria of being exceedingly accessible, and its vivid chalice inhalation and hummable hook is instant in both versions of the song—the original cut in the 1973 with dubmaster Lee Perry, where the harmonies of the three original Wailers, Bob, Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingstone, seem to hover in the air like parallel smoke signals; and the crisper, better known 1978 version on which Bob's vocal mastery rings out, counterpointed with the I Three's swooning backing.
Each has its charms. Whichever, in both 'Kaya's,' Bob creates a sensual, languorous space out of time; the cosy sense of being sheltered while the rain pounds down outside and we relish a respite from life's turbulence, able to view it from the more serene vantage point of one who is 'feeling irie I, cause I have some Kaya now...'"