Soul Rebels is the second studio album by the Wailers, their first album to be released outside Jamaica. The Wailers approached producer Lee "Scratch" Perry in August 1970 to record an entire album, and the sessions took place at Randy's Recording Studio (from then it was Randy's Studio 17) in Kingston, Jamaica, until November. First issued in the UK by Trojan Records in December 1970, the album has since been re-released several times on several different labels. Perry's production is sparse and haunting, only featuring guitar, bass, drums, electronic organs, and vocals with no horns or other embellishments.
The first track, "Soul Rebel", was from the first collaboration of Perry and Marley. Marley initiated the idea for the song, and Perry arranged and co-wrote the music as Marley dictated the lyrics.
Allmusic gave Soul Rebels a glowing retrospective review, calling it "a strange and wonderful set of early reggae that at times plays fast and loose with the already established conventions of the genre".
According to the book, I & I: The Natural Mystics: Marley, Tosh and Wailer by Colin Grant, the band was not happy with the "soft porn" look of the album cover, clashing as it did with their sensibilities, and were upset that they weren't consulted on its look.
^David Katz, People Funny Boy - The Genius Of Lee 'Scratch' Perry, p. 116: "Shortly after the success of 'Duppy Conqueror,' Perry and the Wailers scored another hit with 'Soul Rebel,' ... The Wailers later issued alternate versions of the song with entirely different lyrics as 'Run For Cover,' which surfaced on ..."
^Kevin O'Brien Chang, Wayne Chen, Reggae Routes: The Story of Jamaican Music, 1998, p. 167: "We started to work together and the ideas started to flow 'till we made the tune 'Duppy Conqueror'. Then he came up with the idea 'I'm a rebel, soul rebel' and I arranged the music for that song 'Soul Rebel'. He wrote the lyrics."