Picking up where Simmer Down at Studio One left off, The Wailing Wailers at Studio One, Vol. 2 takes another close look at Bob Marley & the Wailers' early years. The set starts in mid-1965, where its predecessor ended, and continues chronologically through the end of 1966. It was during this period that Jamaican music was shifting, slowing down from the exuberance of ska into the slower tempos and richer sounds of rocksteady. It was a gradual transformation, and even as early as 1965, the Wailers' steamy version of "I'm Still Waiting" signposts all that was to come, further building toward glorious heights with "Let Him Go" and bursting forth from the still ska-ified rhythm of "What Am I Supposed to Do?" "Rolling Stone," a fine version of the Bob Dylan classic, was recorded at the final session the Wailers held with Coxsone Dodd, although the Wailers cut one final single at Studio One, which they self-produced and Dodd distributed -- "Bend Down Low"/"Freedom Time." After this 45, the bandmembers struck out on their own, launching their own Wail'N Soul'M label and flitting around the Kingston studios. It's at this point that myriad compilations pick up the story. Beyond making available this superb early and rarely compiled material, this set, like its predecessor, boasts a clutch of previously unreleased alternate takes of the band's singles, five in all, which makes Wailing Wailers a must-have for fans and collectors alike.
AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene