Bob Marley & the Wailers

Soul Revolution, Pts. 1-2

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In 1971 in Jamaica, producer Lee Perry unleashed Bob Marley & the Wailers' stellar Soul Revolution album on his own Upsetter label, a follow-up to 1970's Soul Rebels, the first of their full-lengths to be overseen by Scratch. Perry promptly licensed the set, without the group's knowledge, to the U.K. Trojan label, who released it in 1973 under the title African Herbsman. The Brits, however, had no interest in the "dub" companion set, Soul Revolution, Pt. 2, which Perry also unleashed on Jamaicans in 1972. At least not then; in 1988, the label changed its tune, licensing it for release alongside a plumped-up bonus track reissue of African Herbsman. But it's not that set that is twinned here with Pt. 2, but the original Soul Revolution album, which is logical, but does mean that fans are losing the four bonus tracks that Herbsman offered up, but they do, however, get the instrumental "Memphis," which was omitted from the original set. And a further warning is in order: although Pt. 2 is oft-times referred to as a "dub set," that's merely for lack of a better term, for the pieces are not dubs at all, but the original Soul Revolution album with the vocals stripped off. Today, people expect more, but these bare "riddim tracks" are interesting in their own right, allowing the musicianship to shine and the structure of the arrangements to come into sharp focus. Soul Revolution was a stunning album, its companion set virtually unique, and as only small quantities were sold, a real rarity. Now fans can finally enjoy both as they were intended to be heard.

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