Bob Marley & The Wailers New Footage: ‘The Capitol Session ‘73’ Makes It Debut

A report by Sasha Lee for Dancehallmag.

Bob Marley fans are in for a treat this weekend as a new film, Bob Marley And The Wailers: The Capitol Session ‘73, debuts exclusively on the Amazon Prime channel, The Coda Collection.

Marley’s Tuff Gong label will also release the film on CD/DVD, CD, 2LP colored vinyl, and in digital audio formats on the same date. The flick features a never-before-seen studio session with 12 performances from Marley’s vital Catch A Fire years, featuring the Wailers lineup of Peter Tosh, Joe Higgs, Aston Barrett, Carlton Barrett, and Earl “Wya” Lindo. 

Reggae music burst onto the international scene in the 1970’s and quickly became a force to be reckoned with. Cultural gems such as The Harder They Come and its landmark soundtrack signalled an increasing appetite for the genre’s grooves, and the Wailers were soon in high demand. By 1972 they had signed to Island Records, completed successful UK and US tours and released two acclaimed albums within six months. But while on the cusp of celebrity status, Bunny Wailer left the group over then manager Chris Blackwell’s policies and was replaced by the band’s mentor, Joe Higgs. 

The Capitol Session came about when the remaining group met up with producer and filmmaker Denny Cordell after two celebrated San Francisco gigs. Cordell, a longtime supporter, sought Marley’s permission and arranged an intimate session before a small invited audience. However, the resulting footage disappeared, and the glorious takes of tracks like Rastaman Chant, Duppy Conqueror and Midnight Raver remained hidden for well over forty years.  

After a 20-year search of archives and storage units across the globe, the footage was recovered, restored and remastered. Bob Marley and The Wailers: The Capitol Session ’73 is directed by Martin Disney and produced by Denny Cordell’s son, Barney Cordell. The ‘records and films’ enthusiast expressed satisfaction that the film was finally available for the world to see. “Finding and bringing this incredible footage to the world has been an extraordinary, challenging and ultimately unbelievably fulfilling journey,”  Cordell said in a release.

Capitol Studios has hosted some of music’s biggest names — from Michael Jackson to Justin Timberlake — but the Wailers’ reggae reverbs create a memorable soundscape from start to finish. Fans can expect sixty-plus minutes of musicality layered with messages of liberation, love and longing on tracks like Stir It Up and Stop That Train. Despite the thirty year setback bringing the film to the big screen, it’s a timely addition to the Marley canon as the world celebrates his 76th birthday anniversary under the theme, ‘Survival’, proving once again how Marley was simply ahead of his time.

Bob Marley and the Wailers’ performance of Slave Driver from ‘The Capitol Session ’73 is now available to watch on Bob Marley’s official YouTube channel. Press play below.


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