Here we are at the start of my countdown, inspired by the work of our contemporary Sal Paradise. Over the next few days I'm going to go through the five albums that I consider to be the most influential to my understanding of music. The albums will be in a loose order of importance, by which I mean that number 1 is definitely the most important, but I'm not really sure about the ranking of the others. So anyways, at number 5 on the list we have:
It's a bit odd, maybe, that the first doo wop music I ever discovered and fell in love with on my own was made by a man who was famous for a very different sound. Still, the Wailers' B-Side and Rarities compilation Destiny: Rare Ska Sides from Studio 1 brought me a real love for music that up until then I had only had a passing acquaintance with. Early in Marley's career, his band was simply the Wailing Wailers, with no "Bob Marley & The" tacked onto the front. He was one of three (clean cut) frontmen, trading spotlights with Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer.
I bought the CD immediately upon its release, having read about it a few months prior. I was completely fascinated by it because it was a Bob Marley that was so different from the "Trenchtown Rock" Bob Marley I'd known before. The tracks on the CD are all over the map. There are covers of American standards like "White Christmas" (absurd for a band of Jamaicans to be playing, which they acknowledged by singing "white christmas, not like the ones I used to know") and "What's New, Pussycat?". There are Doo-Wop originals like "Don't Ever Leave Me" and there are ska tracks like the titular "Destiny". Even when the group ventures away from typical Jamaican sounds, a reggae-ska flavor remains, thanks to the backing work of the Skatellites and mostly thanks to the definitive style of Ernest Ranglin's guitar. This album takes a very interesting look at the Wailers' development and if I'd never gotten a hold of it, there'd be a lot of music I wouldn't have bothered to check out.