Various Artists

Kingston Town: 18 Reggae Hits

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Another of Heartbeat's fine compilations of classic reggae singles, this one consisting of songs produced by Clancy Eccles. Most titles and artists will be unfamiliar to all but the most devoted reggae fans -- don't feel dumb if the names Tito Simon and Eric "Monty" Morris mean nothing to you -- but the King Stitt instrumental "Vigorton Two" is an undeniable classic, as is Lord Creator's sweetly melancholy "Kingston Town" (covered in the late 1980s by UB40). Obscurities include Lee Perry's charmingly atonal "I Was Meant for You," "I Don't Care" by the Dingle Brothers, and the stirring "Come Together" by an American singer named Exuma. Heartbeat's production team has shown its usual loving care in remastering these tracks from the original master tapes, but it's not enough to overcome the limited quality of those original sources, and some tracks are sonically cleaner than others. The album is solid and enjoyable overall, however.

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