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Fy-Ah, Fy-Ah: The JAD Masters 1967-1970 (Box Set)

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Album Review

Despite being encased in a handsome box set featuring a 16-page booklet decorated with nice graphics, the rambling liner notes and other documentation don't give a totally clear idea of when the 68 tracks on this three-CD package were recorded, or (less forgivably) a totally clear context of how they fit into Bob Marley & the Wailers' career. It's more important to enjoy vintage reggae than to get upset about the historical details, however, and all you really need to know is that this material was cut circa 1967-1970, mostly for JAD (though there are a half-dozen sides identified as "Wail'n'Soul'm" versions, presumably indicating recordings done for their own Wail'n'Soul'm label). Most important of all, this is really first-rate early reggae music, from a juncture in the group's career that's been too ill-documented, despite having yielded much fine work. While relatively few of these songs will be familiar to many Marley/Wailers fans (an early version of "Stir It Up" and "Soul Rebel" being exceptions), it could be argued that at no other time did the band strike such an even balance between early reggae, lingering American soul influences, tender love songs, and stirring social consciousness. The production is for the most part pretty clear, and always lighter and more basic than the somewhat slicker recordings through which Bob Marley & the Wailers would rise to international stardom in the 1970s. Sometimes there's even a mild pop touch, particularly as non-Jamaican musicians (including guitarist Eric Gale, drummer Bernard Purdie, and jazzman Hugh Masekela) play on some of the cuts. Too, there's a real sense of these singers being a true group, even if Marley wrote the lion's share of the tunes, as there's so much effective give-and-take vocal harmonies among the Wailers (with Rita Marley's voice frequently heard in the mix). There are too many quality songs to specifically cite in one or two paragraphs, but "How Many Times," "Gonna Get You," "Freedom Time," "Fire Fire," "Rocking Steady," "Hypocrites," "Can't You See," and "Mr. Chatterbox" are all among the outstanding ones. As for less expected covers, you have the Archies' "Sugar Sugar," the traditional spiritual "This Train," and pretty nice American pop-influenced tunes written by JAD's Jimmy Norman and his collaborators, while emerging Rastafarianism can be heard in "Selassie Is the Chapel." Eight "versions," less essential than the fully vocalized renditions but nice for collectors to have, fill out the CDs, the last of which ends with a demo of "One Love, True Love" and a "Dub Plate special" of "How Many Times."

Customer Reviews

so deah!

this album is pretty good. get CHOKE version, if youre in to that kinda stuff. now i dont usually dis my Bob, but whoever EQ'd this compilation shoulda left the recordings well enough alone.

Who needs church?

Play this album (or parts) every Sunday morning for an hour or so and you will be spiritually sound! The music is raw and real. BUY THIS ALBUM....(here or ebay) just buy it, it is worth every penny! I wish Bob would have gotten that toe looked at.

Best Marley Stuff Out There..... Period

There are plenty of people (writing reviews nonetheless) who would say the polished, electrified, synthesized Marley of the late 70's was the best Marley.... They reference albums like Legend and Marley Gold as their favorites and I don't doubt that the number who prefer "Legend" and "Gold" out number the types like myself BUT.

I am sorry that over commercialized "Legend" stuff is nothing compared to the raw, powerful sound you'll find in this box set. This album doesn't sound good dialed all the way up in a huge 1000Watt car stereo..... But you can feel the atmosphere of the studio surround you. Some would call it "bad quality"..... I don't think so.... It's an authentic remastering of some of Bob Marley's best work albeit his least commercially known songs...... Multiple cuts of Mellow Mood give you a deep evocative version and an up tempo almost bossanova stype version..... Both transport you right there to 1960's Jamaica with the rawness of the equipment, the raw ability of the musicians.... and the heart, soul and emotion pouring out of every note & beat.

I know the masses prefer the commercialized albums more...... But to me this represents Bob Marley's finest era.... Not unlike Bob Dylan before he plugged into an amplifier. Listen to the tracks on this CD for an hour and it will transport you.... Turn right back around and play Marley "Gold" and it the difference in the emotion between the two "Master Sets" is shocking...... and no one can perform this experiment and point to "Gold" as the more authentic of the two.

In short, if you just want to sing along to redemption song and smoke pot.... this might not be for you..... but for the serious listener.... there is no better collection of Marley's music.


Born: February 6, 1945 in St. Ann, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

Reggae's most transcendent and iconic figure, Bob Marley was the first Jamaican artist to achieve international superstardom, in the process introducing the music of his native island nation to the far-flung corners of the globe. Marley's music gave voice to the day-to-day struggles of the Jamaican experience, vividly capturing not only the plight of the country's impoverished and oppressed but also the devout spirituality that remains their source of strength. His songs of faith, devotion, and revolution...
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