When it comes to Reggae music Bob Marley is kind of like the Led Zeppelin of the genre. Everyone knows who he is, what he’s about, and year after year new fans rise up to the sound of his music. Now I have obviously been somewhat out of the loop, seeing as how there is a brand new documentary about Marley and the only reason I know, now, is because I’m covering the soundtrack to the documentary, but wow, what a soundtrack.
For most fans, casual or other, the pinnacle of the Bob Marley music collection is Legend, his best of collection. Literally you have almost all of his best songs, and with as many times as it’s been re-released the amount of tracks and the mastering of said tracks is only getting better. So with Legend being kind of the ultimate in Marley music all in one place why would you ever think about purchasing this new release? Simple. Some of it’s content has never been released before. A new mixed version of Exodus, an unreleased track titled High Tide, and for the first time on record a live version of Jammin’ from the 1978 Love and Peace concert in which Marley united two rival political forces, plus some key musical moments in Marley’s timeline that fans will remember and cherish.
As far as the double album is concerned, on a technical level. The studio tracks are pitch perfect and the live tracks put you right in the middle of each performance. The never before heard version of Jammin’ does sound a bit hollow but acceptable. Fans will forgive as the track rolls out providing them with the audible experience of hearing Marley use his musical prowess to make a massive difference on stage and in a high tension Jamaican era. It’s a pretty powerful moment that, despite it’s inferior sound quality, makes for an important moment in history that fans will be glad is included.
Sure there are some songs that we’ve heard before and probably already own on other Marley albums but the sound quality for the rest of the album is great, the live tracks sound wonderfully mixed and mastered, and if you’re a first time Marley explorer this will make for a fantastic companion piece not only to the documentary but to the already fantastically solid Legend release that you will more then likely find in your collection if Bob Marley ends up being a performer you grow to love. As always final judgment is yours. Enjoy.