Bob Marley & the Wailers

King of Reggae [Madacy 1994]

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Wading into the flood of compilations dedicated exclusively to Bob Marley & the Wailers' output from the early reggae age, the Madacy label nips at the competitions' heels with the bumper-crop two-CD King of Reggae set. However, in keeping with the rest of the budget sets, this one is a mishmash too, with no thought to chronology or sequencing. As fans have come to expect (and resent), in willy-nilly fashion King bundles together Lee Perry, Bunny Lee, Leslie Kong, and Johnny Nash/Danny Sims productions, and in the case of "The World Is Changing" changes the title to "You Can't Do That to Me" to further muddy the waters. More to the point, however, quantity trumps quality as well. Sure, there is some notably strong material within, and a number of Jamaican hits are here as well, but there are even more notable omissions, leaving one with the sinking feeling that it won't be long before Madacy releases a bright new package containing many of these same numbers and another handful of those previously left out.

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