...Taking a deep left turn now, we head into the territory of "The Book
of Exodus," Vivien Goldman's exegesis of the 1977 Bob Marley album.
Bass lines boom, Bibles are brandished, and apocalyptic clouds of
marijuana-smoke cover the land. Marley and his Wailers recorded
"Exodus" in London after a botched attempt on his life caused him to
quit his native Jamaica, and Goldman explores with great care the
personal and political context in which the music was made.
She also plunges into the perennial meaning of "Exodus" itself,
talking to rabbis in London, Islamic professors in New York City, and
Rastafarian wise men in Kingston, Jamaica. She talks to the family of
Ernest Gold, who wrote the theme to Otto Preminger's movie "Exodus,"
the piano motif of which was incorporated by Marley into the title
track of his album. She does her homework, in short, and the result is
a stimulating and atmospheric hybrid of a book, in which the spirit of
Marley only four years from death but doing the dance "that seemed as
if he was juggling a soccer ball with his knees"is strong.
- James Parker