Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The Wailers: Burnin' [Island, 1974]
This is as perplexing as it is jubilant--sometimes gripping, sometimes slippery. It's reggae, obviously, but it's not mainstream reggae, certainly not rock or soul, maybe some kind of futuristic slow funk, War without the pseudo-jazz. What's inescapable is Bob Marley's ferocious gift for melodic propaganda. It's one thing to come up with four consecutive title hooks, another to make the titles "Get Up Stand Up," "Hallelujah Time," "I Shot the Sheriff," "Burnin' and Lootin'." A