The Legendary Bob Marley

Bob Marley & the Wailers

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The Legendary Bob Marley Review

by Jo-Ann Greene

Lee Perry versus Leslie Kong in this face off between two of Jamaica's most legendary producers. Perry, the eccentric genius, would for many define the roots age; Kong, in contrast, didn't survive the reggae era, brought down by a heart attack before his 40th birthday. If Perry and his Black Ark studio was the sound of the Jamaican revolution, Kong was the driving force behind reggae's earlier break out. Well, it's never going to be a level playing field: Kong the master of reggae international, Perry whose brilliance would rarely translate into the mass market -- no pairing could be further afield than these two. With all reggae now viewed through a roots prism, Perry's star has now reached supernova proportions, while Kong's early death in 1971 has insured that he remains a dwarf star in contrast. But, in truth, isn't Kong's "Soul Shakedown Party" the equal of Perry's "Lively Up Yourself"? Didn't Kong draw as fine a performance from Peter Tosh on "Stop the Train" as Perry did on "400 Years"? And is "Trench Town Rock" really that superior to "Soul Captives"? Well, you can decide for yourself, for the ineptly titled The Legendary Bob Marley is split almost evenly between the two producers, bundling up 11 numbers recorded by the Wailers in the early '70s, all of which have been constantly recycled ever since. In that respect this compilation offers nothing new other than the chance to hear two world champions reduced to the status of feather weights.

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