Music Updates

Bob Marley and The Wailers’ ‘Capitol Session ’73’: How the Lost Footage Came to Light

In 1989, British filmmaker, archivist and historian Martin Disney was asked by Polygram — who had recently purchased Island Records — to sift through extensive footage of Bob Marley and The Wailers in preparation for the Marley documentary Time Will Tell. While combing through piles of footage in various formats, Disney was especially intrigued by a three-minute segment of 16mm black and white film, without sound or labeling, featuring an early ’70s performance by The Wailers.

No one seemed to know where or when this performance was taped or if additional footage existed, so Disney embarked on a fact-finding mission that spanned over two decades. He learned that British producer Denny Cordell — who co-founded Shelter Records with Leon Russell in 1969 and owned a state-of-the-art mobile broadcast unit — was involved. Cordell passed away in 1995, so Disney tracked down his son Barney, who remembered The Wailers being around his father in Los Angeles. His son recalled a session his father filmed with The Wailers at the Capitol Records’ Tower, but Barney had never seen the footage. Disney continued his search, traveling to New York and California, eventually retrieving seven and a half hours of film from the four-camera shoot Cordell had organized. Disney and editor Tim Dollimore spent several months collaborating over Zoom, painstakingly repairing, syncing and condensing seven hours of material shot from two cameras and a live mix from four cameras into a cohesive 60-minute presentation.

Their diligence has unearthed a momentous artifact: Bob Marley and The Wailers’ The Capitol Session ’73, which will be released on Sept. 3, via Tuff Gong and Mercury Studios, on CD/DVD, CD, 2 LP colored vinyl and digital audio formats; it will stream exclusively via the Amazon Prime hosted music documentary channel, The Coda Collection.

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