The reggae canon to date and the catalogue of Bob Marley & the Wailers are realms so unique unto themselves that they seldom overlap, because reggae was Bob's point of departure rather than his pr

The reggae canon to date and the catalogue of Bob Marley & the Wailers are realms so unique unto themselves that they seldom overlap, because reggae was Bob's point of departure rather than his primary destination. The music of Marley and company taught his own culture a new way to speak the truth to power, while championing the global agenda of the poor who heretofore had no one to speak for them. Most popular music has always been about middle-class aspiration/frustration, whereas Marley's rebel sound advanced the dignity and destiny of the disenfranchised. That "Get Up, Stand Up" became an anthem of Amnesty International was as apt and elemental as the marvelous cow bell accents that are that song's delicate detonator. Because they're propelled by the pure, passionate instincts of a real pilgrim, each of the 20 well-chosen retrospective cuts here possesses similar touches of true inspiration and organic rightness, from the churchy organ on "Turn Your Lights Down Low" to the talking drum sighs on "Could You Be Loved." And the beauty for listeners is discovering a track like the previously unreleased "I Know a Place," which merges a Biblical perspective on the forces of liberty with a work-a-day determination to foster them: "It's people like you, people like me, people need to be free." Such big dreams took bold effort, and Bob was always willing to isolate himself with his ideals at a point when others were just going along to get along. That's the main reason One Love conquers all.—TW

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