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4.9 out of 5 stars36
4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 10 March 2009
The Wailers made some great albums and this is one of the very best. The grooves are tight with melodic hooks and excellent harmonies. I have all their albums and consider this to be lyrically one of Bob's best. There are some real classics on this album and it is a massive disappointment to me that Legend contains no songs from it whatsoever, big mistake by Island Records in my opinion. There are no love songs here, just pure roots, albeit in more mainstream friendly arrangements than any other roots reggae artists. This fact often gets The Wailers a lot of criticism for being too pop or soft somehow. Bob spent quite a bit of time working in America before hitting the big time and along with the extended world tours that they went on and the fact that they were signed to a major record label, meant that their musical horizons were expanded and they no longer only looked inwards at the Jamaican scene to develop their sound. This immersion in world music had a knock on effect on their music and that is the reason why they had more mainstream appeal and hence are the only reggae act to get any real commercial success. They did not sell out, but they did want their music to be heard around the world. It is just unfortunate that all the other great reggae artists like Burning Spear, Dennis Brown, Gregory Isaacs, Prince Alla, Wailing Souls, The Royals, Little Roy, Jimmy Cliff, The Congos, Israel Vibration, Mighty Diamonds, Bob Andy, The Abyssinians etc didn't get the recognition and record sales they deserved. But don't blame The Wailers for that, just enjoy this music for what it is. A great band spreading the message of the greatest lyricist in modern music.

"To divide and rule, could only tear us apart
in everyman chest
there beats a heart
so soon we'll find out
who is the real revolutionaries
and i don't want my people
to be tricked by mercenaries."

"We refuse to be
what you wanted us to be
we are what we are
that's the way it's going to be."

"They say what we know
is just what they teach us
we're so ignorant
every time they can reach us
through political strategy
they keep us hungry
when you gonna get some food
your brother got to be your enemy."

They're just a few samples of the amazing lyrics off this album. Like all of Bob's best lyrics, they sum up complex problems or situations so anyone can understand them. It's hard to pick favourites but if forced I would choose So Much Trouble In The World, Zimbabwe, Babylon System, One Drop and Ride Natty Ride but they're all tremendous songs and that is what makes Survival so good. If you have any interest at all in The Wailers or reggae then buy this now. If you're feeling adventurous or want more reggae to listen to then get some albums by the artists I mentioned above. They won't let you down.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 February 2011
"Graduating thieves and murders...
Sucking the blood of the sufferers..."
---- "Babylon System"

It's a struggle. And, I don't mean the overriding theme of this album, either. Choosing the best albums in this early stage is similar to the argument of greatest rock recordings: Beatles or Stones. Bob's got 10. Steel Pulse has got 5 and before we get to the end of the top 20 we have to include at one from Burning Spear, Black Uhuru and UB40.

The 6th greatest reggae album is SURVIVAL (1979), the first album of his thematic apocalyptic trilogy. What distinguishes this album is, not only is it an underrated but it continues to carry (and might I say, mightily and courageously) the message of personal liberation he began when he created EXODUS.

Barely a couple of years after he returned from exile from The Bahamas and England from an assassin's bullet, Marley proclaimed to the highest powers at home in Jamaica as well as repressive governments around the world the singular message of Hope that would undermine and topple them.

In EXODUS, like the Hebrew prophet of long days gone by, Marley proclaimed to the modern-day pharaohs that there's a "Natural Mystic" blowing through the air and that the "Exodus" was at-hand, a movement of Jah's people. At the same time, blowing the ram's horn, he chanted to all oppressed, all over-worked/ underpaid, discriminated, humiliated and distressed that we'd be "Jammin'" in the name of the Lord and we'd better "Get Ready."

***** ****** ******
"Every man got a right to decide his own destiny/
And in this judgment, there is no partiality/
So arm in arm with arms we'll fight this little struggle/
Cause that the only we can overcome our little trouble..."
---- "Zimbabwe"

In SURVIVAL, the message of liberation is more descriptively defined. "We are the children of the Rastaman/ We are the children of the Higher Man." In "Africa Unite," and "Zimbabwe," Marley directly pointed to the broad and specific autocratic regimes in the Motherland.

Speaking about Zimbabwe, it's been long chronicled that Marley supported the newly minted government of Robert Mugabe. Promises of democracy, promises of individual liberty and communal responsibility for the building of a new nation. Colonial South Rhodesia, now The Republic of Zimbabwe. New nation, new flag, new name. Would Marley sing the praises of this nation's leadership today?

But Marley also poignantly pointed to the mechanics of oppression, namely, among other things, the educational system. In Babylon System, he sings:

"The Babylon system is The Vampire...
Building Church and University/
Deceiving the people continually/
Graduating thieves and murders/
Sucking the blood of the sufferers."

This album is also unique in that this is the only album where there are no ballads, slow or mid-tempo, of any kind. The message is poignant and served up without a hint of hesitation or feebleness.

SURVIVAL. The first album in Marley's apocalyptic trilogy and the 6th greatest reggae album of all time.
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on 20 February 2008
Without doubt this is Bob Marley's finest album. The intoxicating melodies combined with the most conscious lyrics leave you in complete admiration listening to one of the most gifted iconic songwriters at the top of their game.

The songs are well written, the verses are beautifully constructed and the musical arrangements are expansive and add to the intensity of the lyrics, particularly on songs such as "Top Ranking" and the autobiographical account of the failed assassination attempt on him on "Ambush in the night".

Songs such as "Babylon System" underline Bob Marley's universal appeal to the oppressed people he so fervently championed. The song's underlying message of defiance against corrupt political systems resonates very powerfully today, as it did back when the words were penned.

The anthemic "One drop" showcases Bob's ability to incorporate conscious lyrics into a riddim made for just skanking.

"Zimbabwe" opens up with the immortal lines "Every man has a right to decide his own destiny" and is very poignant in light of the current political climate there.

All in all a masterclass thoroughly recommended to anyone with more than just a passing interest in reggae.
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on 2 December 2015
One of Bob Marleys best albums. A nice cover and many good and cool songs. A very good sound. Marley have a special andre cool voice, superb for reagga music.
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on 10 March 2002
Bob Marley at his best. This album surpasses the excellent Exodus and Rastaman Vibration albums. Forget all those greatest hits albums, this songs are just too real for the "mainstream" market. It's on this album that Mr Marley undisputably earns his prophet dues. You will definitely be unable to stand your rose-tinted glasses after this album touches you.
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on 31 October 2010
At the age of 13 I was bought this album on Jamaican import, pretty cool for a white boy from Hertfordshire. Unfortunately my Dad wouldn't let me play records on his deck, so back to the shop it went, to be replaced 3 months later by a poor quality cassette tape!

By this point I was desperate to hear this music, it was early 1980 and my life long love of reggae was about to be hardwired into my brain.

The lyrics, musicianship, arrangements and production on this album blew me into a place I had never been, if an album was ever going to change a young mans life, this was it.

All of Bob Marley & The Wailers albums are fantastic, but this album is the pinacle of his acheivement, often overlooked, but never out of touch, if you have only ever owned Legend and are looking to find the real sound of Marley and the Wailers, this is the payoff.
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on 14 September 2015
Love this cd as I'd never heard of it before . Bob. Marley can do no wrong and this is a must for all his fans
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 27 February 2011
"Graduating thieves and murders...
Sucking the blood of the sufferers..."
---- "Babylon System"

It's a struggle. And, I don't mean the overriding theme of this album, either. Choosing the best albums in this early stage is similar to the argument of greatest rock recordings: Beatles or Stones. Bob's got 10. Steel Pulse has got 5 and before we get to the end of the top 20 we have to include at one from Burning Spear, Black Uhuru and UB40.

The 6th greatest reggae album is SURVIVAL (1979), the first album of his thematic apocalyptic trilogy. What distinguishes this album is, not only is it an underrated but it continues to carry (and might I say, mightily and courageously) the message of personal liberation he began when he created EXODUS.

Barely a couple of years after he returned from exile from The Bahamas and England from an assassin's bullet, Marley proclaimed to the highest powers at home in Jamaica as well as repressive governments around the world the singular message of Hope that would undermine and topple them.

In EXODUS, like the Hebrew prophet of long days gone by, Marley proclaimed to the modern-day pharaohs that there's a "Natural Mystic" blowing through the air and that the "Exodus" was at-hand, a movement of Jah's people. At the same time, blowing the ram's horn, he chanted to all oppressed, all over-worked/ underpaid, discriminated, humiliated and distressed that we'd be "Jammin'" in the name of the Lord and we'd better "Get Ready."

***** ****** ******
"Every man got a right to decide his own destiny/
And in this judgment, there is no partiality/
So arm in arm with arms we'll fight this little struggle/
Cause that the only we can overcome our little trouble..."
---- "Zimbabwe"

In SURVIVAL, the message of liberation is more descriptively defined. "We are the children of the Rastaman/ We are the children of the Higher Man." In "Africa Unite," and "Zimbabwe," Marley directly pointed to the broad and specific autocratic regimes in the Motherland.

Speaking about Zimbabwe, it's been long chronicled that Marley supported the newly minted government of Robert Mugabe. Promises of democracy, promises of individual liberty and communal responsibility for the building of a new nation. Colonial South Rhodesia, now The Republic of Zimbabwe. New nation, new flag, new name. Would Marley sing the praises of this nation's leadership today?

But Marley also poignantly pointed to the mechanics of oppression, namely, among other things, the educational system. In Babylon System, he sings:

"The Babylon system is The Vampire...
Building Church and University/
Deceiving the people continually/
Graduating thieves and murders/
Sucking the blood of the sufferers."

This album is also unique in that this is the only album where there are no ballads, slow or mid-tempo, of any kind. The message is poignant and served up without a hint of hesitation or feebleness.

SURVIVAL. The first album in Marley's apocalyptic trilogy and the 6th greatest reggae album of all time.
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on 2 January 2010
I like the lyrics in this album, but also the arrangement of the bass and whole percussion. The way the instruments sound is unique. Every track is well put together. I have come to regard this as the best album by the greatest band that ever graced the earth.
0Comment|6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 28 February 2016
Prompt delivery. Marley is Marley ... Pure brilliance!!
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