Bob Marley and the Wailers perform “Slave Driver” in a new clip from a recently unearthed session at the Capitol Records Tower in Los Angeles in 1973. The clip comes from the upcoming release, The Capitol Session ’73, which will be released in audio and video formats on September 3rd; that same day it will also be available to stream on the Coda Collection.
The reggae legends recorded the session on October 24th, 1973, working with producer Denny Cordell, who received Marley’s permission to document the performance. The “Slave Driver” clip finds Marley and the Wailers in pitch-perfect form, and the session interestingly took place not long after the group was infamously dropped from a tour with Sly and the Family Stone.
Despite Cordell’s recording efforts, the footage from the Capitol session was believed to be long-lost for decades until a freelance researcher discovered a few frames. That kicked off a 20-year search through archives in New York, London and San Diego that finally led to the full film being unearthed, restored and remastered.
“What makes the ‘Capitol Session ’73’ stand out is that Bob Marley and the Wailers can really relax,” said Martin Disney, the Marley historian and archivist who directed The Capitol Session ’73 film. “They’ve got great sound. They’ve got the equipment that they know if anything goes wrong, it’s fine. It’s going to be fixed. They’ve got a really lovely, appreciative, little audience. All the ingredients for just a great afternoon doing what they loved. And it shows. I mean, it isn’t like anything else.”
Cordell’s son, Barney Cordell, who produced the film, added, “From seeing a lot and playing (as in football and sandcastles!) a lot with Bob Marley and the Wailers as an 8-year-old boy at Dad’s house in Malibu — not knowing who (or caring who!) these exotic guys with cool hats were — to eventually, 30 years later, discovering why they were there and finding and bringing this incredible footage to the world has been an extraordinary, challenging and ultimately unbelievably fulfilling journey. When I started working in A&R at Island my father always said to me, ‘film and photograph EVERYTHING.’ I know it’s different now, but I guess he had the right idea!”