Bob Marley & the Wailers

Bob Marley & the Wailers

Climb the Ladder

Studio 1/Hearbeat

A lot of people think of ska as a recent Jamaican musical phenomenon, something that happened sometime after Marley, Tosh and reggae in general. The kids are into it right?

The wave of ska currently receding from shore is the third by general reckoning, the second having originated in late-’70s England and the first in the mid ’60s from a mix of Jamaican musical styles and the R & B which could be heard from Stateside radios.

This collection, with tracks dating from the mid ’60s, showcases a nascent Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, Bunny Wailer, and a veritable who’s-who of ska — from producer Coxsone Dodd (several tracks are credited to Marley and Dodd) to original Skatalites Roland Alphonso and Tommy McCook. Sound quality is a bit rough, but the songs’ original soul still shines through. “(I’m Gonna) Put It On” is a great shuffling ditty, and a version of Peter Paul and Mary’s “Lemon Tree” is given a unique twist.

Though this record prominently displays a latter-day Bob Marley, a stark contrast to the sharp-dressed youngster from the liner note photos, it’s really the music and the sound that make this record a great collection. Marley’s unique talents had yet to mature, but nonetheless his precense here is noted. Get this for the early ska sound…

Rounder Records, 1 Camp St., Cambridge, MA 02140; http://www.rounder.com

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