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World - Released January 1, 2001 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
Catch a Fire was the major label debut for Bob Marley and the Wailers, and it was an international success upon its release in 1973. Although Bob Marley may have been the main voice, every member of the Wailers made valuable contributions and they were never more united in their vision and sound. All the songs were originals, and the instrumentation was minimalistic in order to bring out the passionate, often politically charged lyrics. Much of the appeal of the album lies in its sincerity and sense of purpose -- these are streetwise yet disarmingly idealistic young men who look around themselves and believe they might help change the world through music. Marley sings about the current state of urban poverty ("Concrete Jungle") and connects the present to past injustices ("Slave Driver"), but he is a not a one-trick pony. He is a versatile songwriter who also excels at singing love songs such as his classic "Stir It Up." Peter Tosh sings the lead vocal on two of his own compositions -- his powerful presence and immense talent hint that he would eventually leave for his own successful solo career. More than anything else, however, this marks the emergence of Bob Marley and the international debut of reggae music. Marley would continue to achieve great critical and commercial success during the 1970s, but Catch a Fire is one of the finest reggae albums ever. This album is essential for any music collection. © Vik Iyengar /TiVo
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World - Released January 1, 1978 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography - The Qobuz Standard
Arguably the most influential live reggae album ever, Babylon by Bus captures Bob Marley and the Wailers during the European leg of their Kaya tour in the spring of 1978. The success of this set was not entirely unexpected, however. If the universal and widespread acclaim of Live! -- their first concert recording -- was an indicator, all involved knew that a Bob Marley & the Wailers performance contained unique energies and a vibe all of its own. Sharply contrasting the somewhat pastoral grooves of the Kaya album, Babylon by Bus possesses a more aggressive sound -- which was a trademark of this particular band. Tyrone Downie's progressive rock keyboard flavors on "Exodus," as well his judiciously located percussive clavinet accentuations during "Punky Reggae Party," lock in with Aston "Familyman" Barrett's viscous basslines to create something akin to psychedelic reggae or even along the lines of Parliament/Funkadelic. Likewise, "Heathen" highlights Anderson's explosive guitar leads, which are distinctly reminiscent of Eddie Hazel from his early days with Funkadelic. The lead guitar solos on "Rebel Music (3 O' Clock Roadblock)" and "Is This Love" also define Al Anderson's innovative and decidedly Western guitar style, as it is seamlessly and thoroughly integrated with Marley and the Wailers. As with their first concert album, Babylon by Bus highlights material from the band's history up to that point. "No More Trouble" is placed in an entirely new context when linked with "War," which features lyrics taken from a United Nations speech given by Haille Selassie I, the Ethiopian emperor considered the father of modern Rastafarianism. Other early tracks, such as "Kinky Reggae" and "Stir It Up," prove to be not the only favorites of concert attendees. More recent offerings of "Is This Love," "Jammin'," and "Exodus" actually garner the most audible support. Without question, Babylon by Bus is an integral component of any popular music collection. © Lindsay Planer /TiVo
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Reggae - Released September 22, 2002 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

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Reggae - Released January 1, 2013 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

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The second half of the 1970s was a prolific era for Bob Marley, at the peak of his glory days, during which he was releasing an album a year. After Rastaman Vibration in 1976, Exodus in 1977, the Jamaican artist released this Kaya in 1978, with tracks originating from the same session as Exodus, recorded during the first few months of his exile in London, in early 1977. The album is widely considered as his lightest, no doubt because of its theme, as Kaya means marijuana in Jamaican slang. The album starts off with Easy Skanking’s“Excuse me while I light my spliff”, as if Marley was totally at ease with the B-side nature of these songs. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the hit machines that were the Wailers, as this album features two of their discography’s biggest successes, Is This Love and Satisfy My Soul – certified double platinum in France and gold disc in the USA. Bob Marley also used these sessions to revisit his Lee Perry period, first with the title song Kaya, for which he wrote a chiselled version without Scratch’s wacky flamenco guitar, like a symbol of Island’s influence – some would say to the detriment of romanticism… –, while Sun Is Shining, more ethereal than its original, rose to new heights and spiciness with Junior Marvin’s electric guitar. On the B-side at the time, one could find She’s Gone, a song about an ousted lover, Crisis, which sounds like a spin-off born out of a rehearsal for Is This Love, or the “rastaman chant” Time Will Tell, cadenced by Nyabinghi drumming. The album ends in a deadpan way with Smile Jamaica, a title composed for its namesake concert on December 5th, 1976 at the National Heroes Park in Kingston, Jamaica, in which Bob Marley took part two days after being shot… © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Reggae - Released January 1, 2001 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Uprising would be the final studio album featuring Bob Marley & the Wailers to be released during Marley's lifetime. Prophetically, it also contains some of the band's finest crafted material, as if they were cognizant that this would be their final outing. The album's blend of religious and secular themes likewise creates a very powerful and singular quest for spirituality in a material world. Although it is argued that an album's graphic design rarely captures the essence of the work inside, the powerful rebirthing image of a rock solid Marley emerging with his arms raised in triumph could not be a more accurate visual description of the musical jubilation within. Musically, the somewhat staid rhythms often synonymous with reggae have been completely turned around to include slinky and liquid syncopation. "Work," "Pimper's Paradise," and the lead-off track "Coming in From the Cold" are all significant variations on the lolloping Rasta beat. The major difference is the sonic textures that manipulate and fill those patterns. The inventive and unique guitar work of Al Anderson -- the only American member of the original Wailers -- once again redefines the role of the lead electric guitar outside of its standard rock & roll setting. "Zion Train" is awash in wah-wah-driven patterns creating an eerie, almost ethereal backdrop against Marley's lyrics, which recollect images from Peter Tosh's "Stop That Train" all the way back on Marley & the Wailers' international debut Catch a Fire. The final track on the original pressing of Uprising is "Redemption Song." Never has an artist unknowingly written such a beautiful and apropos living epitaph. The stark contrast from the decidedly electric and group-oriented album to this hauntingly beautiful solo acoustic composition is as dramatic as it is visionary. Less than a year after the release of Uprising, Marley would succumb to cancer. The 2001 "Definitive Remaster" version of Uprising contains the band version of "Redemption Song" and the 12" mix of "Could You Be Loved." © Lindsay Planer /TiVo
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World - Released January 1, 2001 | Universal-Island Records Ltd.

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Natty Dread is Bob Marley's finest album, the ultimate reggae recording of all time. This was Marley's first album without former bandmates Peter Tosh and Bunny Livingston, and the first released as Bob Marley & the Wailers. The Wailers' rhythm section of bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett and drummer Carlton "Carlie" Barrett remained in place and even contributed to the songwriting, while Marley added a female vocal trio, the I-Threes (which included his wife Rita Marley), and additional instrumentation to flesh out the sound. The material presented here defines what reggae was originally all about, with political and social commentary mixed with religious paeans to Jah. The celebratory "Lively Up Yourself" falls in the same vein as "Get Up, Stand Up" from Burnin'. "No Woman, No Cry" is one of the band's best-known ballads. "Them Belly Full (But We Hungry)" is a powerful warning that "a hungry mob is an angry mob." "Rebel Music (3 O'Clock Road Block)" and "Revolution" continue in that spirit, as Marley assumes the mantle of prophet abandoned by '60s forebears like Bob Dylan. In addition to the lyrical strengths, the music itself is full of emotion and playfulness, with the players locked into a solid groove on each number. Considering that popular rock music was entering the somnambulant disco era as Natty Dread was released, the lyrical and musical potency is especially striking. Marley was taking on discrimination, greed, poverty, and hopelessness while simultaneously rallying the troops as no other musical performer was attempting to do in the mid-'70s. © Jim Newsom /TiVo
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Reggae - Released January 1, 2001 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Containing what is considered Marley's most defiant and politically charged statement to date, Survival concerns itself with the expressed solidarity of not only Africa, but of humanity at large. The album was controversial right down to the jacket, which contains a crude schematic of the stowage compartment of a typical transatlantic slave ship. Survival is intended as a wake-up call for everyman to resist and fight oppression in all of its insidious forms. From Tyrone Downie's opening synthesizer strains on "So Much Trouble in the World" to the keyboard accents emerging throughout "Zimbabwe," the sounds of Survival are notably modern. The overwhelming influence of contemporary African music is also cited with the incorporation of brass, á la Fela Kuti and his horn-driven Africa '70. While "Top Rankin'," "Ride Natty Ride," and "Wake Up and Live" are the most obvious to benefit from this influence, there are other and often more subtle inspirations scattered throughout. Survival could rightly be considered a concept album. Marley had rarely been so pointed and persistent in his content. The days of the musical parable are more or less replaced by direct and confrontational lyrics. From the subversive "Zimbabwe" -- which affirms the calls for the revolution and ultimate liberation of the South African country -- to the somewhat more introspective and optimistic "Africa Unite," the message of this album is clearly a call to arms for those wanting to abolish the subjugation and tyranny of not only Africans, but all humankind. Likewise, Survival reinforces the image of Marley as a folk hero to those suffering from oppression. © Lindsay Planer /TiVo
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World - Released January 1, 2001 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
A posthumous collection produced by Rita Marley, based on work left behind by Bob upon his death. Some of his best post-Wailers work is here, with songs like "Buffalo Soldier," "Chant Down Babylon," and "Blackman Redemption." Given that he wasn't alive to do the production that he usually helped in, this album seems remarkably true to the general vision of Bob Marley's albums. Other somewhat lesser-known tracks also help to fill in all of the cracks with some remarkable material. Case in point: "Jump Nyabinghi," a nice danceable groove with perhaps less of the usual politics mixed in, but with just as much musicality. Overall, any Bob Marley fan ought to own this album. For the uninitiated, Legend is always the starting point, but, after that, this may not be such a bad choice for additions to the collection. © Adam Greenberg /TiVo
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World - Released January 1, 2002 | Tuff Gong

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
For Bob Marley, 1975 was a triumphant year. The singer's Natty Dread album featured one of his strongest batches of original material (the first compiled after the departure of Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer) and delivered Top 40 hit "No Woman No Cry." The follow-up Live set, a document of Marley's appearance at London's Lyceum, found the singer conquering England as well. Upon completing the tour, Marley and his band returned to Jamaica, laying down the tracks for Rastaman Vibration (1976) at legendary studios run by Harry Johnson and Joe Gibbs. At the mixing board for the sessions were Sylvan Morris and Errol Thompson, Jamaican engineers of the highest caliber. Though none of these cuts would show up on Legend, Marley's massively popular, posthumous best-of, some of the finest reality numbers would surface on the compilation's more militant equivalent, 1986's Rebel Music set. "War," for one, remains one of the most stunning statements of the singer's career. Though it is essentially a straight reading of one of Haile Selassie's speeches, Marley phrases the text exquisitely to fit a musical setting, a quiet intensity lying just below the surface. Equally strong are the likes of "Rat Race," "Crazy Baldhead," and "Want More." These songs are tempered by buoyant, lighthearted material like "Cry to Me," "Night Shift," and "Positive Vibration." Not quite as strong as some of the love songs Marley would score hits with on subsequent albums, "Cry to Me" still seems like an obvious choice for a single and remains underrated. Though record buyers may not have found any single song to be as strong on those terms as "No Woman No Cry," Rastaman Vibration still reached the Top Ten in the United States. © Nathan Bush /TiVo
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Reggae - Released January 1, 2001 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
For Bob Marley, 1975 was a triumphant year. The singer's Natty Dread album featured one of his strongest batches of original material (the first compiled after the departure of Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer) and delivered Top 40 hit "No Woman No Cry." The follow-up Live set, a document of Marley's appearance at London's Lyceum, found the singer conquering England as well. Upon completing the tour, Marley and his band returned to Jamaica, laying down the tracks for Rastaman Vibration (1976) at legendary studios run by Harry Johnson and Joe Gibbs. At the mixing board for the sessions were Sylvan Morris and Errol Thompson, Jamaican engineers of the highest caliber. Though none of these cuts would show up on Legend, Marley's massively popular, posthumous best-of, some of the finest reality numbers would surface on the compilation's more militant equivalent, 1986's Rebel Music set. "War," for one, remains one of the most stunning statements of the singer's career. Though it is essentially a straight reading of one of Haile Selassie's speeches, Marley phrases the text exquisitely to fit a musical setting, a quiet intensity lying just below the surface. Equally strong are the likes of "Rat Race," "Crazy Baldhead," and "Want More." These songs are tempered by buoyant, lighthearted material like "Cry to Me," "Night Shift," and "Positive Vibration." Not quite as strong as some of the love songs Marley would score hits with on subsequent albums, "Cry to Me" still seems like an obvious choice for a single and remains underrated. Though record buyers may not have found any single song to be as strong on those terms as "No Woman No Cry," Rastaman Vibration still reached the Top Ten in the United States. © Nathan Bush /TiVo
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Reggae - Released January 1, 2013 | Tuff Gong

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
The second half of the 1970s was a prolific era for Bob Marley, at the peak of his glory days, during which he was releasing an album a year. After Rastaman Vibration in 1976, Exodus in 1977, the Jamaican artist released this Kaya in 1978, with tracks originating from the same session as Exodus, recorded during the first few months of his exile in London, in early 1977. The album is widely considered as his lightest, no doubt because of its theme, as Kaya means marijuana in Jamaican slang. The album starts off with Easy Skanking’s “Excuse me while I light my spliff”, as if Marley was totally at ease with the B-side nature of these songs. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the hit machines that were the Wailers, as this album features two of their discography’s biggest successes, Is This Love and Satisfy My Soul – certified double platinum in France and gold disc in the USA. Bob Marley also used these sessions to revisit his Lee Perry period, first with the title song Kaya, for which he wrote a chiselled version without Scratch’s wacky flamenco guitar, like a symbol of Island’s influence – some would say to the detriment of romanticism… –, while Sun Is Shining, more ethereal than its original, rose to new heights and spiciness with Junior Marvin’s electric guitar. On the B-side at the time, one could find She’s Gone, a song about an ousted lover, Crisis, which sounds like a spin-off born out of a rehearsal for Is This Love, or the “rastaman chant” Time Will Tell, cadenced by Nyabinghi drumming. The album ends in a deadpan way with Smile Jamaica, a title composed for its namesake concert on December 5th, 1976 at the National Heroes Park in Kingston, Jamaica, in which Bob Marley took part two days after being shot… © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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World - Released January 1, 2002 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
Originally released in February 1991, this album combines material from several different sources to trace the development of Bob Marley & the Wailers between October 1973 and September 1975. The bulk of the disc comes from a 1973 radio concert performed before a handful of listeners at the Record Plant recording studio in San Francisco and broadcast by KSAN-FM. The outfit who played them was technically still the Wailers, since Peter Tosh was still with them (and sang lead on his own compositions, "You Can't Blame the Youth" and "Stop That Train"), although Bunny Livingston had declined to tour and been replaced by Joe Higgs. By 1974, when the group assembled to record their next album, Natty Dread, Tosh and Livingston had quit, and the band was reorganized as Bob Marley & the Wailers. In July 1975, the band played two shows at the Lyceum in London that would break them in the U.K., when recordings from the performances were issued as the album Live!. Finally, the musical tracks are interspersed with excerpts from an interview with Marley conducted in September 1975. While these spoken fragments provide a flavor of Marley's conversation, his heavy patois is very difficult for non-Jamaicans to understand. Still, these are valuable odds and ends for the Bob Marley fan. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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World - Released January 1, 2002 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
In assembling Bob Marley & the Wailers' British chart singles for the 1984 compilation Legend, Island Records created what turned out to be a perennial seller, but also an album that misrepresented the range of Marley's work, downplaying its political aspect in favor of danceability and romantic sentiments. Of course, what made Marley such a powerful figure internationally was his message about the uprising of the oppressed, but you wouldn't know that from Legend. Two years later, Island sought to redress the balance with its second major Marley compilation, Rebel Music. Here, in tracks drawn from such albums as Natty Dread, Rastaman Vibration, and Survival, Marley the political activist could be heard in all his glory, decrying "So Much Trouble in the World." In "War," presented in the medley with "No More Trouble" that had appeared originally on the 1978 concert album Babylon by Bus, he quoted Ethiopian ruler Haile Selassie about the dire consequences of denying rights to people of color. At the end, in a version taken from the 1975 "Live!" album, he implored his listeners to "Get Up, Stand Up." (Of course, he was not unaware that that exhortation also allowed them to dance in the aisles.) There were other political songs in Marley's repertoire, of course, and Rebel Music shared with Legend an unfortunate tendency to slight the Wailers' early albums, which contained plenty of appropriate material. (Only one track was drawn from Catch a Fire and none at all from Burnin'.) But for the millions who bought Legend, Rebel Music provided a necessary corrective revealing Marley's impassioned political stance. (Note that this compilation marked the first release on an album of "Roots," the non-LP B-side to the 1977 single "Waiting in Vain.") © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Reggae - Released January 1, 2001 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
The second half of the 1970s was a prolific era for Bob Marley, at the peak of his glory days, during which he was releasing an album a year. After Rastaman Vibration in 1976, Exodus in 1977, the Jamaican artist released this Kaya in 1978, with tracks originating from the same session as Exodus, recorded during the first few months of his exile in London, in early 1977. The album is widely considered as his lightest, no doubt because of its theme, as Kaya means marijuana in Jamaican slang. The album starts off with Easy Skanking’s “Excuse me while I light my spliff”, as if Marley was totally at ease with the B-side nature of these songs. But it would be a mistake to underestimate the hit machines that were the Wailers, as this album features two of their discography’s biggest successes, Is This Love and Satisfy My Soul – certified double platinum in France and gold disc in the USA. Bob Marley also used these sessions to revisit his Lee Perry period, first with the title song Kaya, for which he wrote a chiselled version without Scratch’s wacky flamenco guitar, like a symbol of Island’s influence – some would say to the detriment of romanticism… –, while Sun Is Shining, more ethereal than its original, rose to new heights and spiciness with Junior Marvin’s electric guitar. On the B-side at the time, one could find She’s Gone, a song about an ousted lover, Crisis, which sounds like a spin-off born out of a rehearsal for Is This Love, or the “rastaman chant” Time Will Tell, cadenced by Nyabinghi drumming. The album ends in a deadpan way with Smile Jamaica, a title composed for its namesake concert on December 5th, 1976 at the National Heroes Park in Kingston, Jamaica, in which Bob Marley took part two days after being shot… © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Reggae - Released January 1, 2012 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Distinctions The Qobuz Standard
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Reggae - Released June 3, 1977 | Tuff Gong

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Reggae - Released June 12, 2020 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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1977 was the year that Bob Marley became a superstar, but it was also the year that marked the beginning of the end. In January, Bob was exiled to London after being shot in Jamaica and recorded his new album, Exodus, in the Island studios. Packed with hits (One Love, Jamming, Three Little Birds, to name but a few), the album received universal acclaim after its release – its title track became No. 1 in England and Germany – and finally got him noticed by black American music stations. On 10th May 1977, the Wailers kicked off their international tour in Paris. During their stay in the French capital, Bob injured his foot and as the wound worsened, it was revealed that he had skin cancer. The tour was cut short, ending abruptly in London with four shows at the Rainbow Theatre.The performance on June 4th, which was also captured on video, has now been re-released on this album. Bob Marley is joined on stage by his legendary rhythm section composed of Carlton and Aston Barrett (drums and bass), Tyrone Downie on keyboards, Alvin “Seeco” Patterson on percussion, Junior Marvin – who turned down an offer from Stevie Wonder to join the Jamaican – on guitar, and the I Threes on backing vocals. The tracklist is an extravaganza of his greatest hits (Trenchtown Rock, I Shot the Sheriff, No Woman No Cry and Lively Up Yourself, featuring a deeply soulful blues solo by Marvin). Also included are three excerpts from their newest album, The Heathen, Jamming and finally, Exodus for a frenetic finale expertly led by Tyrone Downie. A beautiful piece of history. © Smaël Bouaici/Qobuz
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Reggae - Released January 1, 2007 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

After the success of 1974's Natty Dread and 1976's Rastaman Vibration, Bob Marley was not only the most successful reggae musician in the world, he was one of the most powerful men in Jamaica. Powerful enough, in fact, that he was shot by gunmen who broke into his home in December 1976, days before he was to play a massive free concert intended to ease tensions days before a contentious election for Jamaican Prime Minister. In the wake of the assassination attempt, Marley and his band left Jamaica and settled in London for two years, where he recorded 1977's Exodus. Thematically, Exodus represented a subtle but significant shift for Marley; while he continued to speak out against political corruption and for freedom and equality for Third World people, his lyrics dealt less with specifics and more with generalities and the need for peace and love (though "So Much Things to Say," "Guiltiness," and "The Heathen" demonstrate the bullets had taken only so much sting out of Marley's lyrics). And while songs like "Exodus" and "One Love/People Get Ready" were anthemic, they also had less to say than the more pointed material from Marley's earlier albums. However, if Marley had become more wary in his point of view (and not without good cause), his skill as a songwriter was as strong as ever, and Exodus boasted more than a few classics, including the title song, "Three Little Birds," "Waiting in Vain," and "Turn Your Lights Down Low," tunes that defined Marley's gift for sounding laid-back and incisive at once. His gifts as a vocalist were near their peak on these sessions, bringing a broad range of emotional color to his performances, and this lineup of the Wailers -- anchored by bassist Aston "Family Man" Barrett, drummer Carlton Barrett, and guitarist Julian "Junior" Murvin -- is superb, effortlessly in the pocket throughout. Exodus was recorded at a time when Bob Marley was learning about the unexpected costs of international stardom, but it hadn't yet sapped his creative strengths, and this is one of the finest albums in his stellar catalog. © Mark Deming /TiVo
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Reggae - Released January 1, 2013 | Island Records (The Island Def Jam Music Group / Universal Music)

Despite its massive commercial success, Legend, the 1984 Bob Marley & the Wailers compilation, was not an impressive "best-of" of the group's full career. It was assembled to highlight Marley's U.K. hit singles of the late '70s and seriously underrepresented his early standards. You might think, therefore, that 11 years later, when Island Records finally got around to releasing what is, in essence, "Legend, Vol. 2," the label would redress the imbalance. No such luck. As its title, Natural Mystic: The Legend Lives On, suggests, this Marley "rest-of" has the same flaw as its predecessor. ("Natural Mystic," the leadoff track, is from 1977's Exodus, an album that had already provided five tracks to Legend.) Although there were few additional U.K. singles, this collection gathers them up, including "Iron Lion Zion" and the newly reconfigured "Keep on Moving," both posthumous tracks heavily overdubbed long after Marley's death that sound little like his classic style. The rest of the album scatters tracks from such later albums as Survival and Uprising, though there are three songs from Rastaman Vibration, an album ignored by Legend, one of them Marley's sole Billboard Hot 100 chart entry, "Roots, Rock, Reggae." Still, the absence of defining early-'70s songs like "Lively Up Yourself," "Concrete Jungle," "Stop That Train," "Burnin' and Lootin'," "Kinky Reggae," "Duppy Conqueror," and "Small Axe" from either compilation is so bizarre that the only explanation one can speculate is a financial one. Maybe due to recording or publishing contracts, Island has some reason to avoid putting Bob Marley & the Wailers' early classics on their compilations. In any case, Natural Mystic: The Legend Lives On adds to the frustration of fans who expect compilations to actually feature the highlights of the band's career. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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Reggae - Released December 5, 1975 | Tuff Gong

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