Bob Marley

Soul Almighty [Eclipse]

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Produced by revolutionary reggae producer Lee Perry around 1971-1972, Soul Almighty includes early versions of many of the songs that were later to make Bob Marley & the Wailers internationally famous. Previously a fairly run-of-the-mill Jamaican vocal group, the band was molded by Perry into a rootsy, Rasta-centric outfit. The polite ska rhythm of the '60s is gone, replaced by upfront rhythm guitar and bass, and Carlton Barrett's exemplary one-drop reggae drumming, and Marley's vocals are tough and confident. "Small Axe" is a Jamaican proverb shaped to suit the turbulent political times, while Peter Tosh's vocal on "Go Tell It on the Mountain" has the authority of a Biblical prophet, and Perry impeccably captures the sheer weirdness of the spooky "Duppy Conqueror."

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