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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean


By Steve Hartong
Published September 8, 2005

Roots Of A Legend
Trojan/ Sanctuary

The 21-track Roots Of A Legend compilation highlights the Wailers’ late ’60s collaboration with producer Lee Perry, which produced many Wailers classics (“Trenchtown Rock,” “Kaya,” “Lively Up Yourself,” “Concrete Jungle,” etc) and laid the foundation for early reggae. Although such phenomenal recordings as “Soul Shakedown Party,” “My Cup” and “Mr. Brown” were never re-recorded, they represent a timeless, often neglected period in Marley’s long career. Some of the more politically influenced songs included here, like “Small Axe,” “Keep On Moving” and “Soul Rebels,” carry more international acclaim abroad than the later Island Records recordings that are so popular in the States. Ultimately, this compilation is nothing new; thanks to loose copyrights this material has been anthologized again and again. On the other hand, no other compilation offers a DVD with 10 selections from Marley’s electrifying 1978 performance in Santa Barbara, California, his last filmed concert before his death. All included, it makes for a very interesting representation of Marley’s career.