Africa Unite: The Singles Collection

What new trick could Island Records possibly have up its gilded sleeve when it comes to releasing yet another Bob Marley reissue? How about a recently discovered “brand-new song” from 1979 recorded in a Miami hotel room, plus two stellar remixes of quality Marley tunes.

There’s radio-hit fare (“I Shot the Sheriff,” “No Woman, No Cry” and “Jamming”), lesser-known sides (“Exodus” and “Waiting in Vain”) plus a few deeper cuts (“Soul Rebel” featuring Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer) and an alternate version of “Concrete Jungle.”

The new track, “Slogans,” kicks. It’s a slicked-up demo; Marley’s sons Stephen and Ziggy added instrumentation and brought in Eric Clapton to whip up some lead guitar. The Marley brothers also do a quality job mashing up dad’s classic “Get up, Stand Up” with Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s “Welcome to Jamrock.” The resulting “Stand Up Jamrock” simply explodes through speakers. Since the obvious songs and lightweight trimmings (the Black-Eyed Peas’ Will.i.am adds an unnecessary remix of “Africa Unite”) are offset by the new material, it’s a worthy introduction to the massive Marley canon.

Jonathan Cunningham writes about music for Metro Times. Send comments to [email protected].

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