In describing this 2cd suite as `the most comprehensive collection of his work ever released', Spectrum hits the mark and shrugs off its budget label tag. This is a truly excellent compilation of original single releases, b-sides, 12-inch mixes, rare tracks and more; released only three months after Gregory's passing. How Spectrum managed to pull this together is laudable. Disc one, subtitled Extra Classic, covers the period 1970 - 1978; an amazing thirteen different labels over twenty tracks! Slave Master and early favourite, Mr Know It All with its extended dub outro are featured. Production credits go to Gregory himself, keyboard player Ossie Hibbert, Lee Perry, Clive Chin and Sly & Robbie among others.
Disc two, titled Cream Of The Crop, includes (for the first time on cd I believe) Tune In and Happy Anniversary from Gregory's short time with Charisma on the PRE lp release, The Lonely Lover. There are six tracks that were not originally released in the UK. Night Nurse (the 1982 album) for a change is not too heavily plundered, giving this release a more rounded representation of Gregory's outstanding work. Barring the Sly & Robbie produced (Oh) What A Feeling; disc two receives the production gloss of the artist.
The sound quality on these discs is superb, with no filler. Even better is the quality of the packaging. Disc one is screen printed in the Trojan Records branding, whilst disc two features the Island logo. The Spectrum logo is so discreet as to be deliberately underplayed. A twelve-page colour booklet includes an overview of Gregory's recording career with additional info on the tracks, images of record labels, sleeves, press cuttings and promo shots.
With a combined running time of about 150 minutes and a budget price, I would recommend this over any of the other collections of Gregory's work. Listen to the vocal talent from the snippets above and then buy. As far as compilations go, this is definitely Top Ten.
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