Customer Review

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent selection of mid- to late- 70's roots from Island Records......, 31 Jan. 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Island Presents: Roots (Audio CD)
I wonder if this 2CD compilation will be the swansong of Universal Records excellent series of reggae compilations on their Spectrum off-shoot now that they have sold the Trojan catalogue to BMG? I certainly hope not but if it is then it is a great way to go out with a generous 37-track selection in superb sound quality mixing both the familiar and rare in a heady mix combining solo vocalists, harmony groups and DJs. Some of the tracks are perhaps over-familiar ('One Step Forward' by Max Romeo & 'Marcus Garvey' by Burning Spear & 'Police & Thieves' by Junior Murvin being the prime suspects) but the generous 2-and-a-half running time more than compensates for this.

The rare tracks include the original version of 'Uptown Top Ranking' by Althea & Donna where they harmonise beautifully the familiar lyrics over a dread minor key rhythm to startling effect and it is then immediately followed by an excellent Trinity toast over the same rhythm - these two tracks are worth the absurd £5.99 price tag on their own. The nyahbingi/funk hybrid 'None A Jah Jah Children (No Cry)' by Ras Michael is similarly brilliant as is the almost 9 minute [presumably 12" mix?] of the awesome Black Ark recorded 'Life Is Not Easy' by the Meditations (my favourite track by this perennially underrated harmony trio).

There are a couple of rocksteady flavoured roots tracks by the great Justin Hinds ('Fire (Is My Desire)' & 'One Bird In The Hand') exhibiting Hind's ultra-soulful pipes in full effect. There are further superb examples of Jamaican roots harmonies by the legendary Congos and Wailing Souls and an intelligent selection of tracks from the (slightly) lesser Third World, Inner Circle and The In Crowd vocal groups [all three of these groups are perhaps too slick to represent the very best of roots reggae]. Rico Rodriguez the ska era trombonist pops up to play a stately instrumental ('Africa'). A few Lee "Scratch" Perry productions are present and correct as should be expected on a 70's Island Records reggae compilation including a few less familiar classic items from Junior Murvin ('Tedious'), Errol Walker ('In These Times') & Perry himself with some help from The Heptones ('Three In One')

Of the more obscure artists Pablo Moses' ('Dubbing Is A Must') from 1980 is particularly striking with a brilliant organ flecked dread minor key rhythm with Pablo's smoky vocals layered on top. Joe Higgs' 'Sons Of Garvey' is the lesser of the two versions of this song with too prominent backing vox overwhelming the great pipes of Higgs himself nevertheless it is still makes fine listening. Ijahman Levi's 'Jah Heavy Load' is certainly rock influenced with some prominent lead guitar threading through the rhythm but it fits in surprisingly well and Ijahman's vocals/lyrics really elevate the tune to classic status. I hadn't heard of Hosbah Lawrence before but his minor key Jack Ruby produced 'Gold Spoon' with an uncredited Trinity toast in a discomix style is a real unheralded gem, another find that fully justifies the price of this set.

Conclusion, if this is where Universal Records parts ways with the reggae genre after releasing many truly excellent compilations over the past few years sourced from the Island & Trojan catalogues then this set is a great way to bow out.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
Name:
Badge:
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
 
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in
 


Review Details

Item

Reviewer

TCH
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   

Location: Cambs, UK.

Top Reviewer Ranking: 734