Bob Marley - Best Of The Upsetter Years, The (Music CD)

Release Date: 02 May 2011
Artist: Bob Marley
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Pare down the huge pile of Bob Marley "best ofs" to just the compilations dedicated exclusively to the Wailers' recordings with Lee "Scratch" Perry and it's still a big mountain. These public domain tracks have been poorly packaged numerous times and the sound quality varies greatly from release to release. Both are reasons the Marley faithful approach every new comp with mistrust, and that goes double when the release is on a label as unreliable as Cleopatra. Luckily, the "Vs" on the cover here don't refer to one of the label's horrid remix albums (no Razed in Black putting the goth to "Mr. Brown") but it isn't really appropriate, either, as Scratch was an accommodating -- some would say "hands-off" -- producer for Marley and crew. The only things left to complain about are the just fair liner notes and the sound quality, which isn't bad but it's a bit too muddy on the low-end when compared to other releases. All that said, there's no denying the strength and importance of these early Wailers songs and performances, most of which come from the Soul Rebels album plus the singles from around that time (1970). Tacked onto the end are four cuts from Perry's Return of the Super Ape album, representing the producer's golden years at his legendary Black Ark Studios. Add up the pros and cons and this is one falls on the good side but with such vital material, you should really seek out the best presentation (try the Trojan's Ape-ology set for Perry or the label's Soul Revolutionaries collection or their re-release of Soul Rebels for the Wailers). ~ David Jeffries
Release Date: 02 May 2011
Artist: Bob Marley

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Catalogue No: CLPCD2525