Before Bob Marley came on the scene, many in Britain dismissed reggae as either the stuff of one-hit wonders or skinhead dance music. Now it is recognized as an influential style, which has not only sold millions of records worldwide but had a major effect on the mainstream. Eric Clapton, the Police and the Clash are just three artists touched by reggae's magic and Marley's majesty. Few of his fans realise the man's recording career was as lengthy as it was: though he died aged just 36 in 1981, he'd been active in the studio since 1962 onwards. This collection can only scratch the surface of Bob Marley's genius.
The boastful title is no exaggeration; this is a welcome return for the classic Chicago blues sideman, who, primarily because of the misfortune of his music being exploited by other musicians, took a self-imposed retirement for nearly 30 years. It's especially rewarding since Williams – whose work you hear on early Howlin' Wolf, Otis Spann, Bo Diddley, Billy Boy Arnold (who guests here) sides – hadn't played a lick during that time, keeping his guitar stashed under his bed. He sounds like he never put the instrument away on this album, the first cohesive disc under his own name ever. Aided by comparative youngsters Tinsley Ellis, Ronnie Baker Brooks, and Rusty Zinn, along with a 21-year-old Sean Costello, Williams holds the spotlight like the pro his is. Though well into his sixties when this was recorded in 2001, he sounds remarkably vibrant, completely confident, and totally in his element.