Bob Marley & the Wailers

Collector's Edition

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A potpourri of a compilation, Collector's Edition trawls exclusively across Bob Marley & the Wailers' work during the early reggae age. With no regard for chronology or producer, Collector's Edition bounces across the years, from 1968 into the early '70s, with dramatic shifts in style and mood inevitably ensuing. A quartet of tracks -- "How Many Times," "Mellow Moods," "Hammer," and "There She Goes" -- were recorded with Johnny Nash in 1968. Another four, including the mighty "Soul Shake Down Party," were cut with Leslie Kong the following year. The rest of the compilation is given over to the group's work with the inimitable Lee "Scratch" Perry. Unfortunately, these latter tracks leave much of the rest of the set in the dust; only "Shake Down" is anywhere in their league. The spectral "Mr. Brown," the triumphant "Duppy Conqueror," the exuberant "Trench Town Rock," Peter Tosh's heavy hitting "400 Years," and so on -- all your favorites are here. Whether fans, however, will feel gypped by having to shell out for the rest is open to question. Those looking only for the hits should search on, while those open to hearing their faves mixed in with less familiar numbers from the same era will find this more than a pleasant excursion.

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