Bob Marley compilations are a dime a dozen and it can be pretty hard to know where to start. Those beginning from scratch who want the gentlest and most comprehensive overview can still do best by starting with the celebrated Legend best-of, especially in its two-disc deluxe reissue of 2002. But those who are already somewhat familiar with Marley's oeuvre and wish to delve more deeply into his earlier and harder-edged work will do well to pick up this generously packed two-disc set, which draws heavily on the Wailers' work with producers Leslie Kong and, especially, the gifted psychopath Lee "Scratch" Perry. Many of these 51 songs are acknowledged classics, though not all are of equal worth: "Soul Rebel," "Kaya," and the defiant "Small Axe" remain among the most powerful of Marley's compositions, while the militant Peter Tosh showcases "Four Hundred Years" and "Down Pressor" are classics of the latter's somewhat smaller catalog. Whether "Mr. Brown," with its heavy synthesizer part, and the rather cloying "All in One" medley are worth more than one or two listens is up to debate. Taken as a whole, however, this is a remarkable document of one of popular music's most powerful voices. Highly recommended.
Trenchtown Rock: The Anthology 1969-78 Review
by Rick Anderson