Bob Marley & the Wailers

Marley [The Original Soundtrack]

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Some 30-plus years after his death and the popularity, the influence, and -- more than anything -- the iconoclastic status of reggae legend Bob Marley were still growing, so much so that his face on a t-shirt had become ubiquitous on college campuses, surpassing Che Guevara on posters and canvas banners as well. Marley, the documentary film and its accompanying soundtrack, aim to keep the man not only an icon, but a historical figure too by filling in his backstory with interviews, historical news footage, and that sweet, sweet reggae music that brought the man such a huge following. Here, it's just the music, and most of it's widely available previously with only a handful of rare live cuts, but it rivals the popular Bob Marley starter Legend when it comes to overall picture, featuring some pre-1972, pre-Island Records music that recasts this revolutionary figure as a smooth, R&B-influenced singer early on. That said, most of Marley's later love songs are skipped in favor of his political material, and the set is heavy with Island Records cuts as it is that era's material most are familiar with, although quintessential songs like "Is This Love" and "Buffalo Soldier" are missing, so Legend still wins when it comes to "the hits." Think of this as an enriching companion to the film or an alternative primer that favors Marley's rebel music. Either way, it delivers.

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