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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Superb scratch compilation at an unbelievable price and in best ever sound....!
on 24 August 2010
This compilation on the revived TROJAN imprint might seem to be the "same old, same old" on first glance especially if you look at the price and think, "How much quality can there be at that price?". Well, I'm pleased to report this is probably the best Scratch compilation since Arkology over 10-years ago, it's really that good. You have to wonder when Trojan/Universal know what they've got on their hands when they dispense a gem like this for what is literally pennies, however I for one am not complaining. The music itself is a mix of the familiar and obscure and some stuff that's been unavailable for many years. No matter what the provenance of the music what really counts is how it sounds and they've done a bang up job and making this sound extraordinarily good even for the ultra-rare stuff which has obviously been mastered from vinyl sources (I suspect sound restoration technology has been applied to 'clean up' the sound so as to remove 'pops' and 'clicks' and the like but not 'hiss' so the original character of the music remains, a very nice respectful job basically). The compilation is almost a "best-of-the-best" taking the premium tracks from the [excellent] Pressure Sound releases "Voodooism" (eg.'Better Future' by Errol Walker) and "Produced and Directed by The Upsetter" (eg. 'Guideline' by George Faith) and "Divine Madness" (eg. 'Stand Up' by Eric Donaldson). Even better it has revived tracks from the seminal TROJAN compilations "Build The Ark" and "Open The Gate" which have been deleted for at least 10-years. Most of these tracks in the original compilations had very rough 'vinyl' sound which has been miraculously spruced up (most noticeably on the absolutely brilliant 'Travelling' by Debra Keese and 'Mr Money Man' by Danny Hensworth, two of Scratch's best ever productions). About two thirds of "Build the Ark" is here (minus the dubs) with almost all the rest on the concurrent, and similarly brilliant, TROJAN compilation "Stand and Give Praise" (another must buy), less of "Open the Gate" is here but they've picked the primo tracks such as 'Misty Babylon' by The Heptones so not much that is essential from that set is missing. There are also tracks I've never heard (or heard of!) before such as the version of 'Be Thankful' by Bunny Clarke and in the main they are worthwhile. The packaging is nicely done, no sign of 'cost saving' even here with good cover-art, a reasonable set of liner notes and full track credits. When all said and done for any reggae fan this set is a must twice over, let us hope TROJAN come out with more stuff of this quality in the coming months and years.