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Record Rating: ****

The Original Reggae & Ska Album - Various Artists - EMI Strike up a conversation with any random group of people about Reggae and Ska music and it seems like 90% of the world immediately thinks of only Bob Marley. But from old school ska to international songs of freedom, there's so much more to the reggae and ska than just one artist.

So if you want to discover the earliest rumblings of reggae to today's top skasters - this is the right album to look into. With classics from Peter Tosh (Dont Look Back, Johnny B. Goode), Madness (One Step Beyond) and Ziggy Marley and The Melody Makers (Tomorrow People) it's the pre-dreads ska and reggae songs influenced by the harmonies of the Motown/R&B artists. It's impossible to cover every modern angle of this genre's output, but the 20 tracks provide a good introduction to what the fuss was all about. Sure a number of tracks are from lesser known artists and bands but its the stuff you know that will get you all excited. By the 80s and the early 90s, Reggae was returning to its dancehall roots, with the accent on recorded music rather than live playing; and vocalists like Maxi Priest and Shaggy sang bawdy tales of sexual bravado and violence and both of them are represented here by two of their biggest hits.

After all, why should the world be satisfied with only listening to Bob Marley? So get out of that rut and expand your horizon. This is a first rate reggae primer - a great album for dancehall beginners and should keep the more seasoned reggae fans happy as well.

Read our other reviews:

Mark Knopfler - Shangri La       Ashlee Simpson       2 Unlimited - Greatest Hits       The Hives - Tyrannosaurus Hives      


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