TROJAN BOB MARLEY & FRIENDS BOX SET (TJETD028) - Whatever you do please do not look too closely for Bob Marley here because this is mainly a collection of the work of many of the musicians, singers and even producers who were to become part of the legend. These artists helped to shape the sound of Bob Marley & The Wailers and this set serves not only as a demonstration of their talent and versatility, but also of their ability to make meaningful and important music away from their work with Bob Marley & The Wailers. Original Wailer Peter Tosh stands alone here for handing in the most Wailers-like performance with his selection of solo dread sermonising for producer Joe Gibbs, but apart from this the music is largely atypical of the work of Bob Marley and The Wailers. However it shows much of the groundwork that went into the making of the legend and id proof (if any were needed) that Bob Marley & The Wailers never stood apart from the Jamaican music scene. A quick perusal of the artists here might even lead one to conclude that nearly every singer and musician to ever come out of Jamaica was at one time or another featured somewhere in the Wailers line-up. Very few are missing but, of course, if you really want to find a Wailers connection there's almost certainly one to be found somewhere with anyone connected with the reggae business. Jamaican artists and producers are now always at pains to point out their long standing association with Brother Bob and how closely they always worked, played, practised and sang together and laugh about the friendly musical rivalry that existed between their respective record labels and shops. The Kingston musical fraternity was a small and tight knit group so it's fairly obvious that everyone was bound to know everyone else, but who at the time could have imagined that Bob Marley would be hugely popular with everyone everywhere and that Bob Marley would be one of the most immediately recognisable faces throughout the whole world?

It has become almost impossible over the twenty years since his untimely death to view his work with real objectivity and to unravel it from the myths and legends that have grown up around the 'King Of reggae'. To most people Bob Marley & The Wailers are reggae music, but few look further than their Island albums as the quintessential reggae experience, rarely venturing as far back as their superlative work with the Upsetter, Lee Perry and hardly ever investigating their earliest work with Coxsone Dodd at Studio One. A compilation that collects together the work of their associates represents something of a breakthrough and should be regarded as an attempt to fit their work into its proper Jamaican context. The majority of the artists featured were accomplished session musicians and singers and would play or sing whatever a particular record producer paid them to do. It is a rarely acknowledged fact that the nature of the Jamaican recording industry without long-term contracts or advances ensured that an artist had to work to survive and so the artists recorded for whoever wanted them and would sing or play whatever was required. Occasionally the quality control department would not always be working overtime and many of these records would only ever have been released in very small quantities, but for completists it gives a tantalising glimpse into the staggering amount of records that were actually made by Bob Marley & The Wailers' circle. Apart from record collecting obsessives this work has never really been looked at again.

This collection gathers together a selection (and only a small selection) of some of those who helped Bob Marley & The Wailers along the way. They knew their craft and, in consequence, their approach was always professional and accomplished. There was no hiding place in Kingston's musical rat race and if you were not up to the job there was always someone breathing down your neck., desperate to step into your shoes and to take your place. Of course the rat race did not end in the studios and sometimes work would be rushed out that was unfinished or not satisfactorily completed in an attempt to keep ahead of the ever present competition. It is important to remember that all of the artists here existed before and after the Bob Marley & The Wailers experience and that they all worked and continued to work outside of their work with Bob Marley. It would be easy to be dismissive about the cover versions of pop songs but they show an understanding and awareness of what constitutes a good record and a sensibility coupled with an ability to work in any idiom, and also as examples of the fact that it was hard work that got them where they would eventually reach and not contemplative introspection.

Many of the tracks capture Bob Marley & The Wailers in previously unrecognised or not so widely acknowledged roles - as back up harmony singers for the great Dave Barker for instance or the excellent Carl Dawkins or even with Bob Marley as producer for the Soulettes (who sound like the prototype I Threes), featuring Rita Marley. Joe Higgs, the man credited with teaching the Wailers harmonies in the early days in the government yards in Trench Town, was repaid in part by being taken on a tour of the USA in 1973 as a temporary replacement for Bunny Livingstone and his role in their development is now recognised as being pivotal. Here he stands alone as one of Jamaica's most gifted yet under rated singer/songwriters. Members of the Upsetters, including the enigmatic Upsetter himself, Lee Perry as a solo artist, show off their individual talents and many would later actually become members of the Wailers. There is very little apocalyptical chanting down of Babylon either as most of these records were made before Bob Marley & The Wailers were to make Roots reggae a viable commercial prospect.

Even though Bob Marley is the common link that holds the records on this collection together he had very little to do with the making of the majority of these tracks but all of the artists had lots to do with him and his work. He would certainly have been aware of the strength of their voices and their keen musicianship and this was doubtless what decided him to eventually take so many of them into the Wailers family.

This set is evidence of the ways in which the history of the Wailers is inextricably linked with the history of Jamaican music and how their development constantly echoed the development of Reggae. It has been previously stated that there are two distinct schools of thought about the music of Bob Marley & The Wailers and that both seek to set it apart for two entirely different reasons. The first is that it is too clever and complex to be seen as 'real' reggae music and the other that their work is somehow not part of the authentic reggae experience, precisely because of its cleverness and complexity. Both points of view miss the point completely. Ironically enough, you do not even have to touch upon Bob Marley's work to disprove both theories, as one listen to this collection should be more than sufficient to demonstrate that these arguments are fallacious. The music of Bob Marley & The Wailers that the world knows and loves did not spring fully formed onto the vinyl of 'Catch A Fire' but was the result of years of hard work immersed deep in the seething cauldron of music making in Kingston and this set is an apposite indication of that fact. The friends on this set are not only friends but also artists in their own right, who not only helped Bob Marley & The Wailers on their way to the top, but, in many cases, accompanied them there as well.

Harry Hawke

DISC 1

DISC 2

DISC 3

(You're) My Desire
Rita Marley & The Soulettes
Soul Food
Lee 'Scratch' Perry - Lynn Taitt & The Jets
If You Can't Be Good Be Careful
Judy Mowatt & The Gaylets
Ten Thousand Tons Of Dollar Bills
Aston 'Family Man', Barrett & King Tubby
The World Is Upside Down
Joe Higgs
The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face
Marcia Griffiths
White Rum
Earl 'Wire' Lindo
Don't Let The Sun Catch You Crying
Dave Barker & The Wailers
Let It Be
Rita Marley & The Soulettes
French Connection
Lee 'Scratch' Perry & The Upsetters
Son Of A Preacher Man
Judy Mowatt & The Gayletts
Talk Of The Town
Glen Adams & The Hippy Boys
Maga Dog
Peter Tosh
Picture On The Wall
Carl Dawkins & The Wailers
Bring It Up
Rita Marley & The Soulettes
Shocks Of Mighty
Bob Marley & Lee Perry
Instalment Plan
Aston 'Family Man' Barrett

Never Had A Dream Come True
Glen Adams & The Wailers
Sweet Bitter Lover
Marcia Griffiths
Deep River
Aston 'Family Man' Barrett
I Shall Sing
Judy Mowatt
Son Of Thunder
Lee 'Scratch' Perry & The Upsetters
Put Your Hand In The Hand
Rita Marley & Ernie Smith
Mystic Mood
Earl 'Wire' Lindo
Them A Fi Get A Beaten
Peter Tosh
Put A Little Love In Your Heart
Marcia Griffiths
Don't Mind Me
Joe Higgs
Bathroom Skank
Lee 'Scratch' Perry
The Gardener
Judy Mowatt
True Love
Carl Dawkins & The Wailers
Family Man Mood
Aston 'Family Man' Barrett
When Festival Is Over
Rita Marley
Sad Love (vocal version)
Glen Adams & The Hippy Boys

Mellow Mood
Judy Mowatt
Sly Mongoose
Aston 'Family Man' Barrett
Yakety Yak
Lee 'Scratch' Perry
Why Should I
Rita Marley & The Soulettes
Twentieth Century Faces
Glen Adams & The Hippy Boys
Again
Joe Higgs & Roy Wilson
Don't Let Me Down
Marcia Griffiths
Cloud Nine
Carl Dawkins & The Wailers
(Wear You To) The Ball
Earl 'Wire' Lindo
Emergency Call
Judy Mowatt
Arise Black Man
Peter Tosh
Herb Tree
Aston 'Family Man' Barrett
What A Confusion
Dave Barker & Bunny Wailer
How Come (aka I Come)
Lee 'Scratch' Perry & The Gayletts
Rainbow Island
Rita Marley
I Wish (I Had Someone)
Glen Adams & The Hippy Boys
You Hurt My Soul
Joe Higgs

Time - 50:37

Time - 49:32

Time - 48:45

All material Copyright Trojan Records