Bob Marley is best known for his classic Island Records catalog, and while that material is undeniably great, there are many Marley fans and historians who feel that his finest recordings actually came earlier, when he and the Wailers
were still largely a Jamaican phenomenon. Wherever one stands on that issue, the fact remains that Marley's early work, particularly the sessions with producer Lee "Scratch" Perry in 1970 and 1971, are of an uncommonly high quality. This collection combines several of the Perry tracks ("The Sun Is Shining," "Duppy Conqueror," "African Herbsman," "Mr. Brown") with those produced by Leslie Kong
("Soul Shakedown Party") and by the Wailers themselves ("Trench Town Rock," "Lively Up Yourself," both of which were originally released on the group's own Tuff Gong label), and the selections are enough to provide a brief but decent introduction to this Jamaican phase of Marley's career. There are literally hundreds of editions of this material on the market -- some legally licensed, some not -- but Roots of a Legend
is at least honestly rendered, with decent packaging and sound. A bonus DVD featuring footage from Marley's 1980 tour (undertaken just 17 months before his death) in support of the Survival
album is also included.