Bob Marley & The Wailers: Roots, Rock, Remixed

Summertime playlists are consumed with Bob Marley’s mellow rhythms, political awareness, and overall timelessness. In the spirit of updating remix projects heard by Motown, Verve, Blue Note and other boutique labels, Roots, Rock, Remixed (Quango) sidesteps the Legend followers for a pure Marley experience, with contemporary tempos, rhythms, and reconsiderations. Some of these mixes reach too strongly. Trio Electrico’s mix of “Trenchtown Rock” for instance, nearly ignores the masterful vocals, and instead, manipulates a Dub-like echo to celebrate the original’s rhythms, not its pointed vocals. A similar approach comes from Afrodisiac Sound System’s mix of “Soul Rebel.” Although this creation still celebrates Bob’s lyrics and provides a club-friendly translation, fundamentalists will likely frown in the face of this stop-n-go delivery.“Lively Up Yourself,” mixed by Bombay Dub Orchestra, is quite the opposite. This is the cleanest, most accessible update offered. The creation is hard not to smile too, and incorporates a sensitive but groovy electric piano that presumably Bob himself would cosign. To bring it home, Cordovan’s fuzzy mix of “One Love” downplays the soul of the original, but creates a more intimate soundscape for the iconic song to shine. While The Fugees’ update still had more passion, records like this take different shape whoever touches them, still tangible to new listeners.Roots, Rock, Remixed doesn’t have the magnitude of The Beatles’ remixes last year; these won’t penetrate the pop consciousness. Still, as authorized mixes arriving on an independent budget, this maybe worth any Marley fan’s (novice or collector) summertime dollars. Like Marvin Gaye or Nina Simone, Bob Marley embodied an attitude, a belief, and a relationship with his audience that, even with Dub echoes or high-hat tempos, reaches people brilliantly, 25 years after his death.