Ziggy Marley

Ziggy, son of Robert Nestor Marley, opens proceedings promisingly with an invocation in rhyme before playing a couple of hours of songs from his studio album alongside some of his Dad’s better known numbers. A Marley is always going to be able to attract quality sidemen and the musicianship carries much of this. There is quite a steady rove with a big and well-drilled band. As you’d expect, there are touches of his Dad to his singing, whether by design of genetics. Ziggy works in little raps to distinguish his work, rather like Michael Franti of Spearhead does, but Ziggy doesn’t want to distinguish himself enough to refrain from covering Jammin’ etc. These are songs that belong to the treasury of common song and any live performances will be welcomed with skanking, unexceptional as these might be. Concrete Jungle is not too far from Dad’s Babylon By Bus recording.

Of the originals, “Still The Storms” kicks up a, shall we say, storm. Ziggy’s songs contain a few burners but are often quite soft, lovey-dovey and prosaic, managing to neither arouse righteous anger, create solidarity or hymn the universals of love. But then, I’d not want to have my songwriting held up against Bob Marley’s! Warm-hearted, self-improving songs like “True To myself” get a bit insipid after a while and the soul only re-appears for the canonical Bob Marley works. Part of an eighteen month tour, this was filmed at a rather quiet, polite and subdued Los Angles Theatre, where polite skanking took precedence over the crowded sweaty frenzy that characterises more memorable occasions. A nice guy, nice songs, a nice couple of hours. Don’t you hate the word nice?

Ross McGibbon