Ty Burr
October 02, 1992 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Songs of Freedom

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
performer
Bob Marley
music label
81110
genre
Reggae/Ska

We gave it an B+

Songs of Freedom is being billed as ”the complete Bob Marley collection,” but you’ll need to buy 1984’s greatest hits Legend if you want a truly complete Marley set. Even with 78 tracks, these four CDs manage to skip the originals of almost all his best- known songs. You get only alternate dance-dub mixes of ”Waiting in Vain” and ”Could You Be Loved,” live versions of ”I Shot the Sheriff” and ”No Woman No Cry,” and no versions of ”Buffalo Soldier” and ”Positive Vibration.” On the up side, the entire first disc amply displays the Wailers’ early ska and rock-steady fire under producers Leslie Kong, Clement Dodd, and Lee ”Scratch” Perry, and there are tons of fascinating obscurities and previously unreleased cuts. That makes Songs a collector’s wet dream — and a neophyte’s nightmare. B+

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