Album: Bob Marley & The Wailers

Grooving Kingston 12, Jad / Universal

Andy Gill
Friday 05 March 2004 01:00

It was Johnny Nash who first "discovered" Bob Marley in Jamaica in 1967, rushing back to tell his business partner Danny Sims he'd met this kid with a headful of surefire hits. One audition later, and Marley and The Wailers were signed to Nash and Sims's JAD Records. Nash's career profited from Marley songs such as "Stir It Up", but JAD made scant headway in breaking The Wailers to a global audience. A collaboration with American soul session-players failed to secure the band's reputation, as did the Bob, Peter & Rita album recorded while Bunny Livingston was in jail on dope charges. In 1972, JAD allowed the group to sign with Island Records; a few years later, The Wailers were superstars. But in the JAD years, Marley had been writing the material that would later elevate him to global stature: songs such as "Concrete Jungle", "Lively Up Yourself", Trenchtown Rock", "Small Axe", "Sun is Shining" and "African Herbsman". This three-disc set, the first of a projected trilogy drawing on the JAD material, features early versions of these and many more, plus material from the legendary sessions with producer Lee Perry. The quality is variable, but there's plenty to enthral those who know Marley only from his Island recordings.

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