Oh good grief, is this really The Best of Bob Marley & the Wailers? Certainly fans of the group's fabulous work at Studio One might beg to differ, while those who prefer the band's internationally renowned roots sounds of the Exodus era would also disagree. So let's append that Best Of title with the explanatory "in the Early Reggae Age," to better appreciate just what's on offer here. What this compilation actually features is a lavish roundup of the Wailers' post-Studio One, pre-Island work. Not surprisingly, the bulk of the set is dedicated to their recordings with Lee Perry, with a handful of Johnny Nash/Danny Sims and Bunny Lee productions thrown in to mix it up a bit. All but the newest arrivals on the Marley fan scene are well aware that this period has since been recycled to death. So, one really needs to sift through them all to find the set that contains all one's personal faves (make no mistake, it's out there). This one might fit the bill -- it certainly is stuffed with classics, but then again there's no "Dreamland," "400 Years," "Kaya," "My Cup," or "Small Axe," at least one of which will inevitably feature on most fans' fave lists. However, for beginners this is a decent place to start, one of dozens of equally "decent enough" compilations to choose from.
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AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene