By Harvey Kubernik c 2016

Bob Marley & the Wailers were at the peak of their artistic powers when they arrived at the Lyceum London for two shows on July 17 and 18, 1975,

Courtesy Universal Entertainment Enterprises

having just released Natty Dread the year before and about to unleash Rastaman Vibration on the world. The Rolling Stones mobile studio was on hand to record both shows, with seven songs from the second released as Live!, in December of that same year. The recording was subsequently broadcast as part of the syndicated radio program King Biscuit Flower Hour in 1976. The live sound mixing was done by Dave Harper, the recording engineer was Steve Smith, and the record was produced by Steve Smith and Chris Blackwell.

The Marley Family will now release for the first time the complete sets from both shows, Bob Marley & the Wailers-Live!, as a three-LP set in 180-gram black vinyl and as a digital package on December 16 in a tri-gatefold package that also includes a reproduction of the tour program from the band’s historic ’75 U.K. tour.  In addition, on the same day, a seven-inch live vinyl disc will also be made available as an exclusive at UDiscover at and the Bob Marley Museum in Kingston, JA.

Marley and the Wailers’ classic line-up included bassist Aston “Family Man” Barrett, drummer Carlton “Carly” Barrett, guitarist Al Anderson, keyboardist Tyrone Downie, percussionist Alvin “Seeco” Patterson and the I-Three — backing vocalists Rita Marley, Judy Mowatt and Marcia Griffiths.  The group was  fresh off its legendary five-night stint at the Roxy Theatre in Los Angles from July 9 through July 13, when they stepped on the stage at London’s Lyceum Theatre for an abbreviated U.K. tour which would also include dates at The Odeon in Birmingham on July 19 and The Hard Rock in Manchester on July 20. Marley was in top form during the two Lyceum shows, animatedly interacting with the crowd, who sang along to what most consider the definitive version of “No Woman, No Cry.”

The BBC’s Chris Jones wrote about the album in 2009: “This seminal live document captures almost exactly the point where both roots reggae and Rastafarianism finally entered popular culture… Capturing the band at the peak of their powers with a set list that held absolutely no low points… this was a Wailers that could more than handle the lusher, fuller rock reggae that transformed Marley’s Rastaman diatribes into pop gold.  No one before this had combined both roots and R&B in this way… uniting both working and middle classes with his songs of universal struggle and religious metaphor.”

Bob Marley in the San Diego Sports Arena Dressing Room, 24 November 1979 by Roger Steffens

“Bob Marley’s solo shows at London’s Lyceum in 1975 signaled a major turning point in his music, as he added American R&B guitarist Al Anderson to his lineup to build a bigger sound for the bigger venues he was now being booked into by his new manager Don Taylor, explained Roger Steffens, author of the forthcoming So Much Things To Say: The Oral History of Bob Marley (Norton).

“When Bob could fill a 3,000 auditorium, Taylor would purposely book him into much smaller places, creating a rush for tickets and a sometimes riot-filled frenzy outside the halls when people could not gain entry. Such was the condition at the Lyceum, when police had to be summoned to calm the chaos surrounding the venue.

“His sets were explosive leading to a smash hit single on the British pop charts of the live version of ‘No Woman No Cry,’ continued Steffens.

“As much as the original Wailers trio of Bunny Livingston, Peter Tosh and Bob Marley had made an impact on the world, Bob’s initial live solo performances created an unmistakable aura around him as the true leader of the group, a budding superstar aided by Island Records’ Chris Blackwell’s insistence that Bob didn’t need the others to be successful. This lustrous album is the proof.”