Confrontation released posthumously in May 1983, two years after Marley’s death. The songs on this album were compiled from unreleased material and singles recorded during Marley’s lifetime. Many of the tracks were built up from demos, most notably “Jump Nyabinghi” where vocals from the I-Threes were added to the track, which was released on a dubplate in 1979. While the original harmony vocals for “Blackman Redemption” and “Rastaman Live Up” were performed by the Meditations on the original singles, they are replaced by harmony vocals by I-Three in order to maintain a consistent sound throughout the album. The most famous track on the album is “Buffalo Soldier,” a terribly overhyped and overplayed tune written about black soldiers fighting white wars.
It was Marley’s wish that “I Know” be released as a single after his death, and that is what you have here. “I Know,” pressed to a Tuff Gong 12″ is different from any other track on the album in that it is basically a funk tune featuring Tyrone Downie at his very best on keys. In my opinion, it is the only glimmer of light on an otherwise miserable experiment. It is my opinion that Confrontation should never have been released as a Bob Marley and the Wailers album. It is a horribly uninspired end to an otherwise impossibly brilliant and unparalleled reggae discography. Uprising would have been a much better bookend to that discography.
Even if you know the song, it is still worth a listen because this 12″ extended mix is markedly different that the album version.
Inside the album sleeve is an artist’s depiction of the Battle of Adowa where Ethiopian forces defeated Italy in 1896. The cover of Confrontation is a reference to the story of St. George and the Dragon. The dragon on the cover represents Babylon, which is being slain by Bob Marley via his music. The cover was designed by the great Neville Garrick, percussionist and self-proclaimed “decorator of the music,” who is responsible for more excellent and deeply thoughtful reggae album covers than you can imagine.
The “I Know” 12″ comes in a very nicely styled picture sleeve which was lithographed by Stephensons of Jamaica. On the back cover it includes the line “Tuff Gong a de best in reggae music!”
CORRECTION: According to Tanatik of the great website www.bob-marley.es, this single was released prior to May 11, 1981 and not in 1983. Many thanks for the great info.