Various Artists

Punky Reggae Party: New Wave Jamaica 1975-1980

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Trojan's rejuvenated reissue campaign of 2001-2002 continued apace with Punky Reggae Party: New Wave Jamaica 1975-1980, a refreshing two-disc set of (relatively) rarely compiled tracks from a neglected era in Jamaican music. It's certainly not a rare groove party, including as it does big hits from Dennis Brown ("Man Next Door," "Money in My Pocket"), Gregory Isaacs ("Mr. Cop," "Hand Cuff [Hey Mr. Babylon]"), Bob Marley ("Natural Mystic"), and Black Uhuru ("Born Free"). Setting these off, however, are a parade of less-heard tracks by Lee Perry, Prince Far I, Sugar Minott, and Prince Jammy, among others -- many of them inspirations for the punk and British ska bands forming around the same time. Another great touch: just before the teen duo Althea and Donna's hit "Uptown Top Ranking," the compilers placed a great track using the same riddim: "Three Piece Suite and Thing" by Trinity. Productions by Perry, Joe Gibbs, Linval Thompson make up the majority of these tracks, lending the four dozen inclusions a unity of sound rarely heard on reggae compilations.

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