One of many bargain three-disc sets in the Trojan Box Set series, Bob Marley & Friends frames the context in which Marley developed and came to prominence. Don't expect too much of Marley, though, as the 50-track set only finds him harmonizing with fellow Wailers Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer in tandem with DJ Dave Barker and singers Carl Dawkins and Glen Adams. What one does get plenty of are fine sides featuring vocalist and onetime mentor Joe Higgs ("The World Is Upside Down"), future I-Three and wife Rita Marley & the Soulettes ("(You're) My Desire"), pivotal Marley producer Lee Perry ("Soul Food"), and bandmate Tosh ("Maga Dog"). In addition, there are some tasty instrumentals by Wailers band predecessors the Hippy Boys ("Twentieth Century Faces") and the Upsetters ("Son of Thunder"). Add to this the work of many key producers (Joe Gibbs, Clancy Eccles, Lloyd Charmers, Alvin Ranglin, et al.), and you have a rarefied yet eminently enjoyable way to study up on Jamaica's most famous son.
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