Total Reggae ~ Chart Hits Reggae Style
August 29, 2013
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 4||Backing : 3/4||Production : 3/4||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4/5|
Over the years VP Records has become the major player in reggae music, and boasts what is reputedly reggae's largest back catalogue. In recent times the company has issued several interesting releases from that huge catalogue. The 'Reggae Anthology' series is a truly impressive effort from the company, with outstanding releases such as Barrington Levy's 'Sweet Reggae Music 1979-84' and Yellowman's "Young, Gifted & Yellow", the latter even with a bonus DVD! Now they have released a brand new series called 'Total Reggae', an excellent mega budget priced collection of double cd's, focusing on several sections in reggae music. Previous reviews here include 'Ragga', 'Dancehall and 'Roots'. The fourth release is about chart hits inna reggae style.
Since the beginning of reggae music, reggae artists have been adapting soul, r'n'b and pop hits. The popularity of these tunes will attract the more mature reggae audience for years to come. It's a tradition stretching back to the very beginnings of reggae history, when ska and rocksteady acts like the Skatalites, Wailers and Techniques would reinterpret the pop and r&b hits of the late fifties and early sixties. Whatever you may think of the art of translating pop hits into reggae, it's obvious that a lot of the versions here introduce an originality and freshness to the mix that could only stem from Jamaican roots. The results are a little more bass heavy and often a lot sunnier than their original counterparts.
Some of the tunes here have been crossover chart toppers, such as Love Come Down by Barry Biggs, which encountered serious airplay and chart success in Europe. Foxy Brown's interpretation of Tracy Chapman's Fast Car was produced by Steely & Clevie in 1989, just like the other Tracy Chapman cover "Baby, Can I Hold You Tonight" which entered Billboard's Black Singles Chart. Shinehead is present here with a lackluster treatment of Heatwave's Mind Blowing Decision, underpinned by the "Far East" riddim and released in 1999. The same riddim is used for a solid interpretation of Lenny Kravitz's Are You Going My Way done by Brian & Tony Gold.
Quality crooner Ambelique uses the "Hypocrites" riddim for I Don't Wanna Miss A Thing, a noteworthy cover "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing", a power ballad performed by American rock band Aerosmith for the 1998 film Armageddon. Junior Tucker's do over of Rod Stewart's Do You Think I'm Sexy is hilarious and totally out of style. Ever sweet crooner Jack Radics has the perfect voice for ultra sweet covers, check out his interpretation of the jazz ballad What A Difference A Day Makes! Other interesting and must hear tracks are Cocoa Tea's Top Of The World, underpinned by the riddim of "Prison Oval Rock", Ghost who licks the "Stalag" riddim with Oh Carol from Neil Sedaka!, injected with several vintage reggae shouts, Rhinestone Cowboy from Glen Campbell that gets the "Santa Barbara" treatment from Major Lloyd and a top notch rendition of Tom Jones'It's Not Unusual by Sanchez.
Strictly for fans!