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Reggae - Released February 19, 2021 | Tuff Gong

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Reggae - Released October 23, 2020 | Tuff Gong

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Reggae - Released September 25, 2020 | Tuff Gong

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Reggae - Released September 25, 2020 | Tuff Gong

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Reggae - Released August 7, 2020 | Tuff Gong

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Reggae - Released June 26, 2020 | Tuff Gong

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Reggae - Released March 20, 2020 | Tuff Gong

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Reggae - Released February 28, 2020 | Tuff Gong

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Reggae - Released July 27, 2018 | Tuff Gong

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Reggae - Released June 2, 2017 | Tuff Gong

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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Dance - Released June 10, 2016 | Tuff Gong

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Reggae - Released February 3, 2015 | Tuff Gong

Captured on tour supporting the Kaya album, Easy Skanking in Boston '78 marks the beginning of the Universal Music Group's archival Bob Marley series, something made possible by the Marley family, who offered up plenty of archival concert and unreleased studio recordings. This first release is a powerful show, slowly rolling up from midtempo favorites into some kicking and classic Wailers anthems like "Jamming" and "Exodus." The sound quality is excellent and a vast improvement over bootlegs, which still sounded quite good, but it does seem an odd selection to launch the reggae legend's archival series, until one looks at the accompanying video release. Easy Skanking in Boston '78 (the video) features hand-held footage from a fan who captured the show with Marley's permission, but only seven of the songs were filmed, and even they're not complete. Still, both the previously unseen video and the audio release will hold interest for the casual fan as well as the fanatic, while the performance is outstanding, making one wonder if the always inspired Marley ever had an "off" night. © David Jeffries /TiVo
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Electronic - Released September 23, 2014 | Tuff Gong

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Reggae - Released January 1, 1978 | 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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Reggae - Released January 1, 2013 | Tuff Gong

Even though it's a posthumous compilation of hits, Bob Marley's Legend (1984) is the best-selling reggae album of all time, but even more, it's a cherished set of favorites that fans hold quite dear. Keep that in mind, and that Marley's catalog has been shamelessly subjected to cheeseball remixes in the past, and it's easy to see why roots reggae noses wrinkle at the word "Remixed," but in the set's liner notes, Marley son Ziggy keeps it real. "This is an adventure in music," he writes, "a 'soul adventure'" with words like "respect" and "open ears" further supporting his cause, but it's the music that matters here, and the tasteful set of remixers listed on the back should be the first clue that this one is soul-filling and easy skanking. Speaking of, studio wizard and Marley son Stephen bends the rules a bit by grabbing the bonus track "Easy Skanking" off the deluxe edition of Legend, but he turns it into a wonderfully busy dubstep kaleidoscope of dad's feel-good vibes. Stephen's remix of "No Woman No Cry" is chock-full of bass drops as well, but it's the feel-good, sunshine disco he lays on the track that puts hands in the air. Brother Ziggy's the one who surprises with his rich, rootsy, reserve red, and reverbed mixes of "Stir It Up" and "Redemption Song," while others play to their strengths and exceed expectations, like Thievery Corporation ("Get Up Stand Up" wonderfully echoes into space) and Roni Size (his cut sounds like a simple Internet kid's hastily pasted together mash-up of "Brown Paper Bag" and "I Shot the Sheriff," but it's simply delicious). Fans unfamiliar with the electronica and EDM scenes should know this one leans toward the underground rather than the mainstream, with folks like Photek taking it slow and low rather than hard and fast. Those concerned that the Marley legacy is damaged by this stuff should know that Ziggy puts it out there, writing in the liners that "Nothing will ever be better than the originals." Nothing here is, but it's all worthwhile, and some of it is quite wonderful. © David Jeffries /TiVo
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Reggae - Released January 1, 2013 | Tuff Gong

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Reggae - Released February 1, 2011 | Tuff Gong

The final concert of Bob Marley’s career, this oft-bootlegged show has never sounded better than on this official 2011 release from the Marley estate. With plenty of hiss and maxed levels, Live Forever is hardly perfect when it comes to sound quality, and the laid-back show doesn’t stand up against Marley’s live masterpiece Babylon by Bus, but fans who want their reggae party a little less “punky” will find this a great, chilled alternative. Seeing as they were on tour in support of the album, plenty of material from Uprising appears, including lesser-known numbers such as “Zion Train” and “Work.” They’re both interesting and very pleasing in these live versions, but the highlights remain the classics, including an R&B-influenced rendition of “No Woman No Cry” and a rock-solid performance of “Natural Mystic.” While “Jamming” comes with a bit more of a bounce than usual, it is “Exodus” that really comes alive, speeding up as it goes while threatening to fly off the tracks. Most everything else gets coated in island soul and the cool confidence the successful Wailers were projecting at the time, so don’t expect a revolution. Still, it’s good to hear the legend both on top of his game (Babylon by Bus) and on top of the world (Live Forever). Marley fans have room for both, and will rightfully declare Live Forever a worthy addition to the extended catalog. © David Jeffries /TiVo
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Reggae - Released January 1, 2010 | Tuff Gong

On first thought, a collection of dub mixes of classic tunes by Bob Marley & the Wailers seems like a reggae fan's dream come true. Originally released exclusively in digital form in 2010, In Dub, Vol. 1 collects mostly previously unreleased dub mixes from the vaults, with some newly crafted ones as well. The versions vary widely in style and virtually no production information, or mixing credits make it hard to place when they may have been put to tape. The digital delay flutter of "One Love/People Get Ready Dub" or "Three Little Birds Dub" suggests post-'80s studio trickery and "Waiting in Vain Dub" has more subdued grit in classic '70s dub style. There's nothing as raw and saturated as the pioneering '70s productions of King Tubby or Lee Perry, though dub champion Scientist contributes a new mix of "Lively Up Yourself" (known here as "Lively Up Your Dub"), heavy with stereo-panned delay, triggered drums, and fragmented horns. While it is novel to hear some of these songs in a classic dub style, the mixes are either way too busy ("Is This Love Dub") or uninspired ("Smile Jamaica Version"), and the collection loses steam quickly. As good as the concept sounds, In Dub, Vol. 1 fails to be captivating in the way other dub collections are, and takes away from the original songs more than it expands on them. Marley's ubiquitous rasta anthems were often such dense studio affairs, with all the elements so meticulously placed, that the systematic application and jumble of the dub treatment just doesn't really succeed. © Fred Thomas /TiVo
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World - Released January 1, 2003 | Tuff Gong

Bob Marley and the Wailers were on tour promoting their newly released album, Rastaman Vibration, when they arrived at the Roxy nightclub in Hollywood, CA, for a performance on May 26, 1976. At the height of their early American fame -- Rastaman Vibration would become their only Top Ten album in the U.S. -- they were also a seasoned concert act. They played the same songs featured on their compelling album Live! (a U.K. hit not yet released in America at that time), plus songs from their new record, before a small audience that combined acolytes with industry figures. In 2002, when Island Records issued its Rastaman Vibration (Deluxe Edition), the ten songs that made up the main part of the show were included as part of the package's second disc; a notable addition that gave a good sense of the band playing the new material. Of course, you had to buy the whole set to get the show. Here, in a move to alleviate that situation, and also create yet another piece of Marley product, Island put out the Roxy show separately; expanding it to two discs by including the encore, which consists of a performance of "Positive Vibration," and a 24-minute medley comprising "Get Up Stand Up," "No More Trouble," and "War." Completists will have to buy it to get the second disc, while others will have another Marley concert on disc. So, the release addresses both Marley's rabid fan base and, potentially, newcomers. It's good marketing, but you can't help thinking that at this point, Island is tipping over the edge of exploiting consumers by repeatedly repackaging the same material instead of serving the public. Still, the encore is the hottest part of the show and, once you've heard it, it's hard to imagine the concert without it. © William Ruhlmann /TiVo
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World - Released April 30, 1976 | 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