Universal Digs Deeper Into Marley Vaults

Among the future Bob Marley vault releases Universal Music Enterprises (UME) is pondering for 2004 and beyond are expanded, two-disc, "Deluxe Edition" versions of 1973's "Burnin' " and 1975's landmark

Among the future Bob Marley vault releases Universal Music Enterprises (UME) is pondering for 2004 and beyond are expanded, two-disc, "Deluxe Edition" versions of 1973's "Burnin' " and 1975's landmark "Live," as well as a boxed set of live recordings.

While he notes all three projects are not yet officially on the books, senior VP of A&R Bill Levenson tells Billboard.com the "Live" Deluxe Edition could arrive in the first quarter of next year.

The original seven-cut album -- which many credit with fully trumpeting Marley's arrival in the States after three studio sets for Island -- was recorded during two nights at the Lyceum in London. Both shows were 12 songs long, so, if the material is up to par, one disc could be devoted to each performance.

Levenson says "Burnin'" may resurface with a second disc from Marley & the Wailers' late 1973 concert in Leeds, England, or recordings taped by the BBC. There is also a possibility that some of the material may be delivered in 5.1 audio mixes. All projects, he notes must be approved by a group of Marley's survivors, including his widow Rita and his many musical offspring.

Because there was so much overlap in the Marley & the Wailers' live shows from 1973 to 1980, the boxed set could prove a pipe dream. "During that time, there were eight or 10 songs that he constantly brought out," Levenson says. The hope, he says, would be that fans would be open to buying a box with various versions of certain songs, some perhaps featuring different arrangements, players and dynamics.

Another possibility is a multi-CD collection of Marley & the Wailers' four-night, June 1977, stand at the Rainbow Theatre in London. In any event, the label wants to explore the concept of a live collection that would span more than two discs.

When he died in May 1981, Marley left behind thousands of tapes that are housed in London, New Jersey and Jamaica. Levenson says he has feelers out for still more material, such as live performances from the "King Biscuit Flower Hour" radio program and the like.

Marley's son Ziggy revealed exclusively to Billboard.com in May that he and his family had discovered a batch of unheard, eight-track recordings made at home by the reggae icon. They may be used as the basis for an album partially produced in the same style as the mid-1990s Beatles singles "Free As a Bird" and "Real Love," which incorporated unreleased tapes of the late John Lennon.