Bob Marley / Bob Marley & the Wailers

Grooving Kingston 12: Jad Masters 1970-1972

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This is an attractive three-disc box set of material that Bob Marley & the Wailers recorded in the early '70s. Most of these tracks have been packaged countless times in different configurations, so there's really nothing new here, but Grooving Kingston 12 does have decent liner notes and musician credits, which is a rarity with most pre-Island releases of Marley material. The first disc collects early Jamaican singles released on the Wailers' own Tuff Gong label, along with the usual instrumental versions and DJ toasts. These are rough and raw recordings, full of a kind of nascent charm, with dominant horn arrangements, but aside from early versions of "Concrete Jungle" and "Soul Rebel" (here called "Run for Cover") and the beautiful melody of "Guava Jelly" (later a hit for Johnny Nash), most of these cuts play like sketches for a sound that isn't quite there yet. That sound arrives with banners flying, however, on the second disc, which features some of the best work the Wailers ever did. Working with producer Lee "Scratch" Perry at Randy's in Kingston, the Wailers recorded the songs that would make up the Trojan LPs Soul Rebels and African Herbsman, releases that redefined the direction and future of reggae. Again, there is nothing new here, since these songs have been reissued repeatedly in different combinations over the years, but the music is simply magnificent, a perfect pairing of the right musicians with the right producer at the right time. The final disc collects song demos Marley recorded for Danny Sims and Johnny Nash in Europe in 1971, along with a couple of late Tuff Gong singles, including another fine Perry track, "Sun Is Shining," and "Satisfy My Soul Babe," which points toward the kind of sound Marley would develop later at Island Records. The Sims demos are interesting for compositional and historical reasons, particularly the long solo acoustic medley Marley recorded in a hotel room in Sweden in 1971, but like almost everything else in this box, they have been issued countless times. There is one actual rarity here, the rather ordinary-sounding "Music Gonna Teach (aka Music Lesson)," which has gained some luster among Marley fans simply because few people have actually heard it. "Music Gonna Teach" aside, the tracks in this box set are hardly obscure or difficult to find, and most serious Marley devotees will already have them, although Grooving Kingston 12 offers the convenience of having them all in one package, and with decent annotation.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 03:09 Amazon
2 02:21 Amazon
3 02:56 Amazon
4 03:10 Amazon
5 02:52 Amazon
6
feat: Big Youth
02:47 Amazon
7 03:29 Amazon
8
feat: U-Roy
02:47 Amazon
9 02:34 Amazon
10 02:16 Amazon
11 02:30 Amazon
12 03:12 Amazon
13 02:19 Amazon
14 03:21 Amazon
15 03:01 Amazon
16 03:06 Amazon
17 02:56 Amazon
18
feat: Tommy McCook
02:53 Amazon
19
02:47 Amazon
20 02:36 Amazon
21 02:57 Amazon
22 02:34 Amazon
23 02:14 Amazon
24 02:35 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 02:29 Amazon
2 02:38 Amazon
3 02:19 Amazon
4 03:33 Amazon
5 03:33 Amazon
6 03:12 Amazon
7 04:00 Amazon
8 02:43 Amazon
9 02:27 Amazon
10 03:04 Amazon
11 03:56 Amazon
12 03:38 Amazon
13 02:37 Amazon
14 02:36 Amazon
15 02:23 Amazon
16 02:52 Amazon
17 03:09 Amazon
18 03:30 Amazon
19 02:37 Amazon
20 03:12 Amazon
21 03:05 Amazon
22 03:06 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 00:42 Amazon
2 01:46 Amazon
3 01:55 Amazon
4 01:24 Amazon
5 02:24 Amazon
6 02:08 Amazon
7 01:51 Amazon
8 01:30 Amazon
9 02:11 Amazon
10 02:03 Amazon
11 02:06 Amazon
12 02:49 Amazon
13
feat: Johnny Lover
02:49 Amazon
14 02:54 Amazon
15 02:24 Amazon
16 02:03 Amazon
17 03:36 Amazon
18 03:03 Amazon
19 02:53 Amazon
20 02:56 Amazon
21 02:10 Amazon
22 02:50 Amazon
23 03:14 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick