Sunday, 7 May 2017

"Legend - The Best Of: Deluxe Edition" by BOB MARLEY and THE WAILERS (2002 Universal 2CD Reissue with Ted Jensen Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

This review and hundreds more like it can also be found in my 
1960s and 1970s 
Exceptional Remasters
Volume 2 of 3 
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And is available to buy/download at Amazon at the following link...

"…Redemption Songs…"

The biggest selling Reggae Album of all time is an obvious (and even lazy) choice for inclusion in Universal's Deluxe Edition Series of 2CD Reissues. Especially as it’s a Best Of. But have you actually heard it?

The audio quality on this 2002 twofer reissue is astounding - not just good - but truly incredible (Ted Jensen Remasters from original tapes). And it's one of those cool reissues where you get the best of both worlds - a superlative CD version of the album on Disc 1 - while Disc 2 is filled with brilliant alternate versions that actually warrant the word Bonus. Time to lively up yourself and be no drag. Here are the skanking details...

UK released 25 February 2002 - "Legend – The Best Of: Deluxe Edition" by BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS on Universal 586 714-2 (Barcode 731458671428) is a 2CD Set of Remasters and plays out as follows:

Disc 1 (73:16 minutes):
1. Is This Love (from "Kaya", March 1978 UK LP on Island ILPS 9517)
2. No Woman No Cry [Live] [Full Album Version] (from "Live! At The Lyceum", December 1975 UK LP on Island ILPS 9376)
3. Could You Be Loved (from "Uprising", June 1980 UK LP on Island ILPS 9596)
4. Three Little Birds (from "Exodus", May 1977 UK LP on Island ILPS 9498)
5. Buffalo Soldier  (from "Confrontation", May 1983 UK LP on Island ILPS 9760)
6. Get Up Stand Up (from "Burnin'", November 1973 UK LP on Island ILPS 9256)
7. Stir It Up [Full Album Version] (from "Catch A Fire", April 1973 UK LP on Island ILPS 9241)
8. Easy Skanking (from "Kaya", March 1978 UK LP on Island ILPS 9517)
9. One Love/People Get Ready (from "Exodus", May 1977 UK LP on Island ILPS 9498)
10. I Shot The Sheriff (from "Burnin'", November 1973 UK LP on Island ILPS 9256)
11. Waiting In Vain (from "Exodus", May 1977 UK LP on Island ILPS 9498)
12. Redemption Song (from "Uprising", June 1980 UK LP on Island ILPS 9596)
13. Satisfy My Soul (from "Kaya", March 1978 UK LP on Island ILPS 9517)
14. Exodus (from "Exodus", May 1977 UK LP on Island ILPS 9498)
15. Jamming (from "Exodus", May 1977 UK LP on Island ILPS 9498)
16. Punky Reggae Party (Long Version) (originally a non-album B-side to "Jamming" issued as a UK 7"single in December 1977 on Island WIP 6410. The original &' single edit ran to 4:25 minutes, this 'Long Version' extends to 6:52 minutes)

Disc 2 - The Legend Remixes (71:55 minutes):
1. One Love/People Get Ready (Extended Version - Remix by Julian Mendelsohn - 7:01 minutes)
2. Waiting In Vain (Remix by Julian Mendelsohn - 5:57 minutes)
3. Jamming (Remix by Paul "Groucho" Smykle - 5:36 minutes)
4. Three Little Birds/Three Little Birds (Dub Version) (Remix by Julian Mendelsohn- 5:20 minutes)
5. Could You Be Loved (Remix by Errol Brown and Alex Sadkin - 5:26 minutes)
6. No Woman No Cry (Remix by Eric E.T. Thorngren - 4:11 minutes)
7. Coming In From The Cold (Remix by Eric E.T. Thorngren - 5:43 minutes)
8. Buffalo Soldier (Remix by Eric E.T. Thorngren - 5:25 minutes)
9. Jamming (Remix by Eric E.T. Thorngren - 3:22 minutes)
10. Waiting in Vain (Remix by Eric E.T. Thorngren - 4:13 minutes)
11. Exodus (Remix by Eric E.T. Thorngren - 8:51 minutes)
12. Lively Up Yourself (Remix by Eric E.T. Thorngren - 5:18 minutes)
13. One Love/People Get Ready (Dub Version) (Remix by Godwin Logie - 4:56 minutes)

The original May 1984 14-track LP is expanded to a 16-track CD with full album versions instead of the 7" edits that were often on the record because of vinyl space restrictions. While it might sound trite to say that the single mixes end too soon - never is this more evident for instance than on "Punky Reggae Party" where the 'Long Version' groove extends to nearly seven minutes instead of four and a half. And the difference in incredible – transforming the song into a hugely enjoyable funky beast of a thing.

The sequencing is everything with "Legend" - flitting from the Eighties to the early Seventies with ease and clever choices. It opens with the fantastic crossover hit "Is This Love" - I can remember DJing parties when this just slayed the crowd - hundreds of people joining in on the chorus. The emotional "No Woman No Cry" (from 1975's amazing "Live! At The Lyceum") is given full album length reign - over seven minutes - what a winner. But again were quickly back to another stunning dancefloor killer "Could You Be Loved" - the remaster bringing out that tight as a Vatican purse rhythm section. One of my all time faves by Marley has always been "Get Up Stand Up" - politics and passion combine with Rasta Rhythms to produce a winner for the heart, mind and feet. Johnny Nash first brought "Stir It Up" to us in March 1972 (a year before "Catch A Fire" was even released) - while I personally don't have much time for Bob's original of "I Shot The Sheriff" (made famous of course by Eric Clapton in 1974 who put it on top of the UK singles chart and probably made the lad a few bob). "Waiting In Vain" is simply gorgeous with that wonderful guitar break and that irresistible backbeat (Annie Lennox does a lovely cover of it on her "Medusa" set from 1995 that's always being used in rom-coms). In fact the breakthrough masterpiece of 1977's "Exodus" casts it shadow over the remainder of tracks with the hugely popular "Jamming" sounding amazing in the transfer.

Disc 2 opens with a seven -minute extension of "One Love/People Get Ready" with the centre section going into amazing keyboard and bass jabs. The Mendelsohn remix of "Waiting In Vain" sounds a lot less polished than the album cut - but turns it quite deliberately into a far funkier affair with the vocals treated to slight echoes. The long version of "Could You Be Loved" is a DJ's dream - allowing that fantastic certain groove to stretch out like never before - it's frankly impossible to sit still while it plays (the girls giving in some slick vocals). The acoustic beginning of "Coming In From The Cold" (originally on "Kaya" from 1980) gives way to a cool keyboard groove that feels more Soul than Reggae - a great remix. The other nugget for me is a brassy Thorngren rejigger of "Lively Up Yourself" which doesn't top the original but is a brill "You Rock So!" groove that just doesn't quit. You're then hit with a final Audio Blast - the Dub Version of "One Love/People Get Ready" which isolates Marley's vocal and the girls. There are drum whacks and echoed bass plucks that will literally rattle your speaker cones...

Universal have not surprisingly done almost every Marley LP on Island Records in a 2CD DELUXE EDITION but for me this compilation is the Jah Lion of the Reggae crop.

"Let's get together and feel all right..." - Bob Marley sang in 1977 and his passing in 1981 aged only 36 years of age hurt. Millions have been taking his message of love and music to heart ever since. Robert Nesta was a giant and this brilliant Deluxe Edition proves that handsomely...

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