ARTIST: Bob Marley & the Wailers
TITLE: The Best of the Wailers
YEAR RELEASED: 1971
CHART ACTION: #78 US, #12 R&B, #3 UK
SINGLES: Soul Shakedown Party, Stop the Train, Soon Come
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Go Tell It on the Mountain
LINEUP: Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Livingstone with Gladstone Anderson, Winston Wright, Hux Brown, Aston Barrett and Carlton Barrett.
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Not a greatest hits collection, but a solid album of songs recorded for producer Leslie Kong in Jamaica.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Two years after this album, the music world all over the globe would hear Bob Marley & the Wailers in their full glory, but this album, full of songs recorded over a two year period, set the stage for that success.
The sound is direct and joyful, with the Wailers singing and harmonizing through songs that they’ve had in their repertoire for years. “Soul Shakedown Party”, the lead cut, is a definite anthem. The backing by Gladdy Anderson’s All Stars was spot on, highlighting and complementing the vocalists and providing the rhythm and feeling needed.
Leslie Kong was a great producer, but soon the Wailers moved on to Lee “Scratch” Perry, and Kong’s work schedule got the best of him. He died a week after he released this, and this may be a great epitaph for him.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: A reason the band left Kong was that they didn’t like the title of the album, though Kong thought this was the best they would ever do. It really was the best album Kong produced.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: A couple of re-mixes (called Version in Jamaica).
GRADE: A-: A fantastic insight of the Wailers before they made it big, with some great songs that are relatively unknown.