Friday, April 26, 2013


"THE ESSENTIAL BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS": There are countless Bob Marley collections on the market, most of them drawing from his pre-Island Records Jamaican releases. These are usually poorly annotated, tossed-together affairs of dubious legality, and since Marley & the Wailers often re-recorded songs at various stages of their career, it can be nearly impossible to tell which versions you're getting without actually playing the disc. All of this confusion is a shame, since some of Marley's best work was done before the group signed its Island contract, and many casual Marley fans have no idea this stuff even exists, which is why this two-disc set from Trojan/Sanctuary is so welcome. It does a decent job of cherry-picking key Wailers tracks from several Jamaican producers, and makes a nice entry into the mare's nest of pre-Island releases. Included are tracks produced by Bunny Lee ("Mr. Chatterbox"), Leslie Kong ("Caution," "Soul Shakedown Party," "Stop the Train," "Back Out," "Cheer Up," "Soul Captives"), Ted Powder ("Adam and Eve"), a handful of Wailers self-productions ("Concrete Jungle," "Lively Up Yourself," "Satisfy My Soul"), and a generous selection of Lee "Scratch" Perry's 1970 and 1971 work with the group ("Mr. Brown," "Small Axe," "Kaya," "Soul Rebel," "Sun Is Shining," "Brand New Second Hand," "Duppy Conqueror," "Stand Alone"). Perry also worked with Marley for brief periods in 1976 and 1977, and "Who Colt the Game," "I Know a Place," "Natural Mystic," and "Keep on Skanking" are included from those sessions. The end result isn't the essential Bob Marley & the Wailers, as the title proclaims, but it certainly contains tracks that are essential, particularly the Perry material. Serious fans of the Wailers will already have everything here, but for casual listeners looking for a well-sequenced set of the earlier years to augment the Island releases, this one fills the bill nicely. (Allmusic)trax CD 1:
01 Soul Shakedown Party 02 Caution 03 Soul Rebel 04 Stop The Train 05 Sun Is Shining 06 Adam And Eve 07 Back Out 08 Corner Stone 09 Mr. Chatterbox 10 Brand New Second Hand 11 Duppy Conqueror 12 Soul Captives 13 Try Me 14 Cheer Up 15 Soul Almighty 16 Four Hundred Years 17 Mr. Brown 18 All In One
trax CD 2:
01 Lively Up Yourself 02 Keep On Moving 03 Small Axe 04 Don't Rock The Boat 05 Trenchtown Rock 06 Kaya 07 African Herbsman 08 Down Presser 09 Concrete Jungle 10 Stand Alone 11 Satisfy My Soul 12 Fussing & Fighting 13 Dreamland 14 Keep On Skanking 15 Natural Mystic 16 Who Colt The Game 17 I Know A Place
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