Various – Reggae Collected

by Jun 2, 2023Reviews, Various

Reggae Collected

Release Info

Music On Vinyl / Universal Music
Street date
May, 2023
Website Record Label

1. Third World – 1865 (96° In The Shade)
2. Peter Tosh – Johnny B. Goode
3. Althea & Donna – Uptown Ranking
4. Toots & The Maytals – 54-46 Was My Number
5. Inner Circle – Mary Mary
6. Wailing Souls – Feel The Spirit

1. Ini Kamoze – World-A-Music
2. John Holt – Police In Helicopter
3. Jimmy Cliff – The Harder They Come
4. Steel Pulse – Babylon Makes The Rules
5. Culture – The International Herb
6. Dennis Brown – Love Has Found Its Way

1. Eek-A-Mouse – Wa Do Dem
2 Black Uhuru – Sinsemilla
3. Aswad – Can’t Stand The Pressure
4. The Mighty Diamonds – Right Time
5. Pato Banton – Go Pato
6. Linton Kwesi Johnson – Inglan Is A Bitch

1. Gregory Isaacs – Night Nurse
2. The Abyssinians – Meditation
3. Max Romeo & The Upsetters – Chase The Devil
4. Buju Banton – Hills And Valleys
5. The Paragons – The Tide Is High
6. Yellowman – Zungguzungguguzungguzeng

The Reggae Collected double album is part of the Collected compilation series, a collaboration between Universal Music and Dutch label Music On Vinyl. It is a limited edition of 2000 individually numbered copies on yellow (LP 1) and light green (LP 2) coloured 180-gram audiophile vinyl. Music On Vinyl is one of the leading vinyl reissue labels, which has already reissued many reggae classics. We list here just a few of those albums that will make many a reggae fan happy: Aswad’s 1983 album Live and Direct, one of the few live reggae albums that are truly interesting, Ini Kamoze’s mini-lp, a not-to-be-missed album on which he and Sly & Robbie collaborate sublimely, Bunny Wailers stunning deep roots reggae solo debut album Blackhaert Man and The Wailing Souls’ album Wild Suspense, originally released in 1979. Let’s not forget to mention the many reissues of Lee Perry albums and Lee Perry-produced albums.

Reggae Collected offers us a good cross-section of Jamaican music between 1967 and 1992. A total of 24 tunes, chronologically with The Paragons’ 1967 rocksteady hit The Tide Is High as the earliest release and Buju Banton’s 1992 captivating rasta anthem Hills And Valleys as the most recent. The vast majority of tunes date from the 1970s and early 1980s. Of course, it is not surprising to find super well-known classics like Althea and Donna’s Uptown Top Ranking and Yellowman’s Zungguzungguguzungguzeng on it. Also guaranteed all-time favourites, including, 54-46 Was My Number by Toots and his Maytals, The Mighty Diamonds with Right Time and Eek-A-Mouse’s Wa Do Dem evoke many fond memories for us.

The first lp’s opening track, Third World with 1865 (96° In The Shade), sets the tone with its captivating mood. The powerful and thought-provoking song draws inspiration from the Morant Bay rebellion, which was led by the Baptist preacher Paul Bogle in 1865. Similarly, Steel Pulse’s Babylon Makes The Rules is a potent and provocative track from their 1979 album Tribute To The Martyrs. Linton Kwesi Johnson, a British dub poet, expresses his discontent with the disadvantaged state and ill-treatment of his people through the song Inglan Is A Bitch, which he featured on his album Bass Culture. Aswad, the most commercially successful reggae band in the UK, also stands up against oppression and encourages people not to tolerate it with Can’t Stand The Pressure.

John Holt appears twice on this album. One of his notable contributions (as a member of The Paragons) is The Tide Is High, a hit song co-written with Tyrone Evans, also a member of this successful rocksteady group. However, by 1983, rocksteady was a long-gone style when he recorded the ganja tune Police In Helicopter, produced by Henry Junjo Lawes with backing from the Roots Radics band. The song remained popular and frequently covered over the years, including Yaadcore’s recent version on his Reggaeland album. Joseph Hill and Culture’s music continues to bring us joy today, especially with their timeless hit International Herb.

Sinsemilla proves that Black Uhuru’s cutting reggae sound is still rock solid. Arguably the ‘best’ tune of this collection is Max Romeo’s Chase The Devil. It was recorded under the direction of sound wizard and genius producer Lee Perry. Max Romeo describes the song’s concept in a 2010 interview, explaining that the devil represents everything that is negative in our minds, while the iron shirt symbolizes the strength of our spirit to overcome it. This track is considered to be one of Max Romeo’s strongest works. Sadly, he is no longer among us, Gregory Isaacs, but he is still alive and well in the hearts of many reggae fans. One of his most appealing lovers tunes, Night Nurse, is featured here.

Unfortunately we have to frown when it comes to the choice of songs for particular artists. We don’t believe that Dennis Brown’s soul/funk track Love Has Found Its Way truly represents the reggae legend, nor does Inner Circle’s Mary, Mary which is marred by a disturbing guitar rock arrangement. Peter Tosh’s rendition of Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode doesn’t seem like the best fit for a militant artist like him. Anyway, all things considered, the conclusion is that Reggae Collected is a recommended compilation to get acquainted with reggae music on the one hand or to enjoy that beautiful music from our younger years on the other.


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