ARTIST: Bob Marley & The Wailers
TITLE: Soul Rebels
YEAR RELEASED: 1970
CHART ACTION: #197 US, #48 R&B, #10 UK
SINGLES: My Cup, Soul Rebel
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: No. This was a Jamaica / UK release.
LINEUP: Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, Aston Barrett, Carlton Barrett
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: First international release by Marley & the Wailers, and the first real album session. It’s spare, raw reggae produced by Lee “Scratch” Perry.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: When someone says they like Bob Marley, ask them if they’ve heard this record, or heard of it. The Island releases (starting a couple of years after this was released) are well known by most any Marley fan, but these early reggae releases are rather much something die-hards know.
Picking through the various albums and releases can be tough. Know this, Marley and the Wailers released three full length albums (and one rare dub recording) between 1970 and 1971 for Trojan Records in the UK (and Jamaica of course), then moved to Island. There are at least two or three compilations that have a lot of these songs – and you can find at least two of those albums streaming in whole anyway.
As for the music, it’s hardcore reggae that is without horns or embellishment. Just guitar, bass, drums and organ with the voices. The rhythms are there – the bass isn’t as deep as it would get and the production is a bit rough but probably about the best you can expect. The Wailers had something in them, you can tell, and many of these early songs wound up on later albums in new versions.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: Backing musicians Aston and Carlton Barrett were part of the Upsetters, Perry’s house band, and they soon joined the Wailers..
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, bonus tracks with non-album singles and dub versions. They released a lot of singles in Jamaica.
GRADE: B+: Even the novice reggae fan would find something to enjoy out of this.