Bob Marley

The Reggaeton Mixes

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Bob Marley hardly faded from the music industry following his death in 1981, as countless reissues, repackaged box sets, genre experimentations, and all manner of flotsam have appeared under his name ever since, including this collection of Lee "Scratch" Perry productions from 1970 and 1971 remixed in a reggaeton style. It's not the strangest re-imagining of Marley material (a disc from a few years ago of Marley songs done up as bluegrass might get the nod there), and it works surprisingly well given the odds, but in the end The Reggaeton Mixes can't help but sound like a one-trick pony where the immensely charismatic pony up and died 25 years ago. There are mixes that work here, like Chosen Few's take on a Marley take of a Curtis Mayfield song, "Keep on Moving," that seems wonderfully fresh and alive, or Los Foresteros, Tiger and Scarface's"Soul Rebel," which retains all the confidence and grace of the original while taking on a rap sensibility, or Rad's mix of "Duppy Conqueror," a song too good to be ruined in any format, but one suspects each of these mixes works mostly because the source song is so strong to begin with, and Perry's initial production, so stripped down and Jamaican funky, gives everything a strong rhythmic base. Still, ghosts are ghosts, and Bob Marley done up in urban beats and Latin raps is still unmistakably Bob Marley, and he hardly needs the bells and whistles.

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