Just when you think you've seen it all, and you're positive that there's no way left to recycle the same old batch of Bob Marley & the Wailers' early reggae records, suddenly a compilation appears that makes you sit up and take notice. Truth be told, All the Hits is anything but. Of all the songs here, only "My Cup" ever made the chart, and then only in Jamaica. But that's really beside the point, as is the fact that a good deal of the tracks have been bundled up many times before. What sets this set apart, then, is that every vocal cut is twinned with its B-side instrumental version (labeled as "dubbs," not to be confused with "alternate" vocal takes that have also been making appearances on a wide number of compilations). If you bought the 45s when they were initially released, this is precisely what you would have gotten. In some cases, the backing instrumental track is more interesting that the A-side, a reflection that not all these songs showcase the Wailers at their best. Most importantly, it provides a snapshot of the early reggae era, a time when new rhythms and productions had come to the fore, and fans were as keen to hear the backing (preferably with a DJ mashing it up on top) as the singers themselves. This is no best-of collection by any means, but still a refreshingly new take on an otherwise pretty tired set of songs.
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AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene