Bob Marley & The Wailers, The Complete Island Recordings - album review

Download: Concrete Jungle; Get Up, Stand Up; Them Belly Full (But We Hungry); No Woman, No Cry; Jammin’; Exodus

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Housed in a box echoing the original Zippo-lighter sleeve of Catch a Fire, this career summary presents The Wailers as they should be heard, with the full, rounded warmth provided by vinyl.

The difference is less noticeable on the earlier albums, which feature a crossover, Anglo-Jamaican production sound that fails to deliver Aston Barrett’s bass with the full heft that eventually drove the band to global recognition on the Exodus album.

Later albums like the over-stoned Kaya and African-themed Survival, were less reliable, but that early run of Catch a Fire, Burnin’ and Natty Dread, culminating in the breakthrough Live! album (from which derived the version of “No Woman No Cry” that secured Bob Marley a mainstream audience), remains one of the most powerful sequences of politicised pop music ever recorded.

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