Soul Revolutionaries: The Early Jamaican Albums
Bob Marley & The Wailers
4 CD Set
May 18, 2005
DISC 1 : THE BEST OF THE WAILERS (BEVERLEY'S)
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 4||Production : 4||Sound quality : 4||Sleeve : 5|
Trojan have done a beautiful job with the sleeve design and cd art work here : each cd sleeve has original design intact, and original vinyl labeling. CD1 has a beautiful Beverley's label, the other 3 discs have nice Upsetter designs.
CD 1 is early soul/roots hybrid rude boy rebel rock, with the longing of "Stop The Train" as a high point. Peter Tosh is on the vocal -- so desparing of his poverty, beyond caring if what he chooses is the right action, he states "Stop the train, I am leaving and it won't be long, whether I am right or wrong". Tosh continues reggae's symbolic use of the train as a vehicle of freedom or -- as in this case -- the train as a metaphor for a world out of control, a world to disengage from as urgently as possible.
"Caution" has an eerie guitar line and a lonely vocal from Bob. "Go Tell It On The Mountain" is Peter's tune, again, clearly influenced by a Joe Higgs style arrangement.
CD 2 is where the Upsetter music begins, and that much is clear from the boom and percussive spirituality of "Soul Rebel" -- stubborn and assertive, yet tranquil.
"It's Alright" has a hammering cantankerous bass, with an edge of early JB's funk in the rhythm.
"My cup is running over, and I don't know what to do, so I have got to cry cry cry. People let me cry and will I feel a little better " runs Bob's confession in "My Cup", a tune which legend has it captivated Lee Perry, and convinced him of the Wailer's worth.
"Reaction" like its terse title, exudes a loose, confident agression.
CD 3, the "Soul Revolution" album, is again, Upsetter music, with tunes which Scratch versioned many times on albums like "Blackboard Jungle" and "Cloak and Dagger" -- though these versions are not as sophisticated and fully realised as those later versions.
This version of "Put It On" is slow, slow, slow, sticky and sensuous, with a pugnacious bass and inspired percussion -- the precise opposite of earlier amphetamine speed ska versions --Watch your bass cones with Scratch's production here.
"Fussing and Fighting" has the same bass distortion, similar to the bass treatment on Burning Spear's Studio One albums, whilst "Brain Washing" has a nervous, weird synth piercing sound.
CD 4 is the Version excursion but it is not as satisfying as that may sound -- arguably because the listener know it's a Scratch work, so is urging him on to turn these rhythm tracks inside out with his inimitable powers of imagination -- but sadly that never happens, and what we have here are, more or less, simply the untreated backing tracks.
(It was only much later in the late 70's that Marley's music got the dubwise deconstruction it deserved exemplified by tracks like "Coming in From The Cold" -- transformed, taken apart at source -- on the version side of the Tuff Gong 45.)
But -- three out of four ain't bad -- and three of these four cd's are first class, with hard bass heavy low end sound remastering from Trojan. Top work, and indispensible -- not only for Marley fans, but for those who are attracted to the very early Joe Higgs and Spear/Coxsonne music.