In November of 2016, I reviewed the 30th Anniversary Tri-Coloured Vinyl Re-issue of this classic compilation. While I adore that edition, I was also intrigued by the Deluxe Edition that expands the original release with a series of alternative versions. Hence, I thought it would be interesting to review Volume 2 while contrasting how the songs compared to the core mixes that we all know and love. Subsequently, if you're interested in reading my thoughts about the music contained within Volume 1, then please check out the aforementioned link.
One Love / People Get Ready (Extended Version) is considerably longer than the version on Volume 1. Despite the obvious repetition of rhythm, with minor musical shifts, I find that I thoroughly enjoy this extended version. The core, radio-friendly, release is nice, but the extended runtime truly adds to the sonic presentation of the song. So, do I have a preferred version? Not really. Both are exceptional and I could listen happily to either version. Although, you can clearly hear a different mastering between the two editions. The extended version has a smoother presentation that I personally prefer and therefore from a sonic standpoint alone, I would choose the extended edition.
Waiting In Vain (12" Single Version) takes an already beautiful song and makes it divine. The extended musicality, especially three-quarters through the track, really appeals to me and I, therefore, find the 12" Single Version offers a significant improvement over the mainstream release. Truth-be-told, l've never really liked the idea of radio-friendly tracks, limited in length and artistry by the demands of terrestrial radio stations. While I often prefer extended versions, there are always exceptions and not all songs should have extended versions. Thankfully, this version of Waiting In Vain doesn’t fall into that category. Perhaps it is the groovy, somewhat hypnotic, Reggae sound that melds beautifully with the soundstage, captivating my soul. Regardless, the 12” Single Version is glorious.
Jamming (12" Single Version) pales in comparison to the mainstream edition on Volume 1. It simply tries to do too much, failing to add substance to the song. I feel the core groove has been lost due to the longer presentation and additional musical elements. I don't know about you, but I would have been quite happy if this 12" Single Version had never been released.
Three Little Birds (12" Mix (Dub Version)) adds a nice guitar element that isn't heard in the core song, but while I feel this and other musical elements add qualitatively to the song, I still prefer the succinctness of the version available on Volume 1.
Could You Be Loved (12" Mix) offers an excellent expansion to an already exceptional song. However, the original was so good that I question the need for an extended edition. Nevertheless, we are truly fortunate to have both editions.
No Woman No Cry is the studio recording, whereas the edition found on Volume 1 is the live 1975 performance in London. When I reviewed the tri-coloured vinyl release, I had the following to say: "the studio edition is arguably not as strong as the live performance, but neither is 100% perfect." I still stand by that statement after listening to both editions, again, for this review.
Coming In From The Cold (1984 12” Single) didn’t make the original Legend tracklisting. It isn't a bad song, but one can see why it wasn't included. The rhythm, while familiar, is quite different tonally from the other songs found on Legend. That said, I'm really glad it was included in the Deluxe Edition for those who would not necessarily collect the individual albums, but want a career perspective. If there was one song that would convince me to purchase the Deluxe Edition, it would be the inclusion of Coming In From The Cold. The more I listen to it, the more I appreciate it!
Buffalo Soldier is a significantly different remix and doesn't come close to being comparable to the original. This version is overproduced in what can only be seen as an attempt to reach a wider demographic. The sound lacks that loveable Reggae sound and introduced too much synthetic musicality that destroys the song. I simply don't like it.
Jamming (US Version) is much better than the 12" Single Version and is basically on par with the excellence heard on the core song.
Waiting In Vain (US Version) is a great song and while this is the third version found on the Deluxe Edition, the differences are subtle enough that it sounds fresh and thankfully doesn't deviate from the core essence of the song too much.
Exodus, this time around, offers us a remix of the legendary song but doesn't damage the original. It does, however, offer a different perspective. Think of it as akin to the Director's Cut of a film. It offers more and some will like that while others are content with the original release. This is another song where I am glad we have both options to choose from.
Lively Up Yourself is another song that wasn't featured on the original Legend compilation. As with Coming In From The Cold, one could argue that the tonality of the song doesn’t match the overall musicality of the album. As a song on its own, however, I really enjoy the Reggae and Jazz mix. It is bold and appealing to me as I thoroughly appreciate both genres. Lively Up Yourself is another excellent reason to pick up the Deluxe Edition. Yeah, like I really needed a justification to purchase this album again!
One Love / People Get Ready (Dub Version – 1984 12” Remix) is a different mix that incorporates A cappella elements. I like it, although, it’s not my favourite mix as I feel it comes across slightly disjointed. Despite this, I'm glad that this edition exists and as the final track on the Deluxe Edition, it encourages me to listen to the core compilation and this bonus content again.
The Deluxe Edition of Legend is an astonishing compilation from Bob Marley And The Wailers. While many of my peers are frustrated by the fact that they have to repurchase the same music over and over again, this album never disappoints and the varied mixes on Volume 2 are certainly a value-added proposition for diehard and casual fans alike.
This review was based on listening to the 16/44.1 kHz CD-quality FLAC edition on TIDAL Hi-Fi. For the most part, I found the additional mixes to be sonically on par with the master releases. I mention this primarily because bonus volumes have a tendency to have varied sonic properties that can impact one’s appreciation of the music and the artist. Thankfully, that isn't the case in this instance.