ZIGGY MARLEY REVIEW AND CONCERT GALLERY BY MICHAEL VAN DYKE
David Marley (Ziggy) born in Kingston, Jamaica on October 17, 1968, he received guitar and drum lessons from his father and began sitting in on Wailer's recording sessions at the age of ten. The oldest son of reggae legend Bob Marley and his wife Rita, Ziggy Marley would natural inherit the throne left vacant by his father's untimely death in 1981. Along with backing the band called the Melody Makers, a unit comprising of his brothers and sisters, he successfully carried on the tradition of communicating the music's message to a growing audience. In 1979, Ziggy, his sister Cedella, brother Stephen, and half-sister Sharon had recorded the single "Children Playing in the Streets." From The Time Has Come: The Best of Ziggy Marley & the Melody Makers.
Like his father, Ziggy Marley eventually emerged as a leading political voice, and was named a Goodwill Youth Ambassador for the United Nations; at home in Kingston, he also founded his own record label, Ghetto Youths United, created to help out the next generation of reggae talent in Jamaica.
Without the Melody Makers, Dragonfly was released as his first official solo album in 2003, but its 2006 follow-up, Love Is My Religion, was the one with the hit, as the album's title track put Ziggy back on reggae radio throughout the globe. His 2009 effort, Family Time, was a charming children's album, while 2011's Wild and Free returned to the socially conscious reggae that launched his career. In 2012, he released his first comic book featuring the hero Marijuana man and followed it in 2013 with the live album In Concert.
The diverse Fly Rasta followed a year later and featured a Melody Makers reunion thanks to guest appearances from Erica Newell plus Sharon and Cedella Marley. The album won Best Reggae Album at the 57th Grammy Awards. In 2016 Ziggy Marley returned with his sixth solo -- but first self-titled -- album, which featured a single called Weekend's Long. And, frankly, these songs were the highlights of the set, balanced with a lighter Ziggy-written fare, like "Weekend's Long" and "Reggae in My Head."
When Marley tackles heavier themes as in songs like "Personal Revolution" and "Love is My Religion," the vibe is there, but less so the urgency and the revolutionary fervor that fueled his father's work. Musically, Marley has surrounded himself with amazing back up singers, a keyboardist, two guitarists, a bassist and percussionist, all anchored by Jamaican studio veteran and legend, drummer Carlton "Santa" Davis, And at the end, there were some special guests close to Ziggys heart. On the last song of the night, the title track from "Exodus," Marley's sons Gideon and Abraham made appearances onstage, continuing the same tradition that had Ziggy and his siblings dancing onstage at their dad's concerts. To top it all off you felt the good vibes Ziggy and the crowd was giving off at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse stage in Milwaukee to these great songs.