Recorded under the auspices of revolutionary reggae producer Lee Perry around 1971-72, this compilation includes early versions of many of the songs that were later to make Bob Marley and the Wailers internationally famous. Previously a fairly run-of-the-mill Jamaican vocal group, the band were 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 "Soul Rebel" is an early manifestation of Marley's later persona, and "Kaya"'s bass line is an inspired lift from Glenn Miller's 1940s big band hit, "Tuxedo Junction."
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AllMusic Review by AllMusic