The Wailers: ‘Dub Marley’ (1976/2001) French Release

Think of this as a little bit of reggae history. During breaks in the sessions for Rastaman Vibration, the Wailers (without Bob Marley) recorded ten of Marley’s songs. The instrumental cuts and their dub versions saw very limited release in Jamaica in 1976. Why they were recorded is a mystery, but here they’re reprised together. The dub cuts aren’t bad, although far from adventurous in Sylvan Morris’ mixing — it’s more drop-in and drop-out rather than the journey to outer space that the best dub can be. That said, the introduction to “Concrete Jungle” has a wonderfully spooky edge, and the majesty of “No Woman” is even more accented in its sparseness. The instrumentals, however, leave you wondering just what the point really was, short of being karaoke fodder. Nicely played, to be sure (as they should be, given the roots reggae talent in the band), with Lloyd “Gitsy” Willis’ guitar all over “Get up Stand Up,” for example.

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