Review: Real reggae lovers will long have been attuned to this "Soul Of Jamaica" compilation, which draws together the best of the 60s onto one essential slab of wax. The original is highly sought after so this is a welcome reissue from Music on Vinyl. Twelve small but perfectly formed nuggets from artists like Alton Ellis, Tommy McCook and The Paragons exude that dusty, gauzy authenticity that defined this early era-reggae. Some of the tunes swagger, some of them soar, there are sun kissed uplifters and blue-eyed downbeats, but all of them hit the spot.
Sly & Robbie - "Night Nurse" (feat Simply Red - radio mix) (3:45)
John Holt - "Police In Helicopter" (3:33)
Eek-a-mouse - "Ganja Smuggling" (3:46)
Don Carlos - "Rivers Of Babylon" (3:16)
Freddy McGregor - "Big Ship Sailing" (3:12)
Jacob Miller - "Tenement Yard" (2:33)
The Congos - "La La Bam-Bam" (3:50)
Alton Ellis - "I'm Still In Love" (4:22)
Dennis Brown - "Revolution" (4:15)
Errol Dunkley - "OK Fred" (2:55)
Groundation, Don Carlo & The Congos - "Jah Jah Know" (5:57)
Black Uhuru - "Sinsemilla" (5:14)
Ini Kamoze - "World A Music" (2:45)
Yelloman - "Zungguzungguguzungguzeng" (6:29)
Lee "Scratch" Perry & The Upsetters - "Soul Fire" (3:51)
Alborosie - "No Cocaine" (4:05)
Chaka Demus & Pliers - "Murder She Wrote" (4:04)
Review: Classics are classics for a reason, and this compilation champions them across two slabs of wax. All four sides are jam packed with firm reggae favourites from Bob Marley's stirring "Soul Rebel" to the buttery croons of Gregory Isaacs on "Babylon Too Rough". Mick Hucknall's inclusion will raise some eyebrows, but there is no denying his version of "Night Nurse" with Sly & Robbie has something going on. Smokers will delight in ganga odes from Eek-a-mouse and the lovable innocence of The Congos hit "La La Bam-Bam" will always have a place in anyone's affections.
Review: Red Soul Community is a ska band from Spain founded by Carlos Dingo, and after a small hiatus they make a big return with a punk riddled new album that comes with suitably confrontational artwork. Known and loved by rocksteady fans round the world, this outfit is led by the captivating vocals of Isa Garcia and since 2005 they've turned out a number of acclaimed albums. This new one is an uptempo affair with energetic grooves, hints of American ska, skinhead and 2 tone, and attitude to spare. The songs are both catchy and dance-y, and the whole album is wonderfully colourful.
Derrick Morgan & Hortense Ellis - "I'm Leaving" (2:48)
Roy Shirley - "The Winner (Taking Over)" (3:16)
Ken Parker - "Sad Mood" (3:37)
Dave Narker - "Girl Of My Dreams" (3:28)
Review: Picture the scene: it's the late 60s, reggae is swiftly evolving into rocksteady as a new wave of artists bring fresh influences to their sounds. Most of them are recorded, pressed and sold on Orange Street in Kingston, Jamaica, which was the epicentre of the reggae world at the time. Famous plugger Bunny Lee was the man who made hits of many of the tunes and this new compilation pulls together fourteen highlights of the era. Crackling rhythms, skilled musicianship and stories of daily lives characterise this most colourful and transportive of collections which will leave you feeling nicely detached from the hustle and bustle of fast paced modern life.