Various Artists

Ranking and Skanking: The Best of Punky Reggae

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Though it may displease purists of both styles, Rhino's Ranking and Skanking: the Best of Punky Reggae is a surprisingly eclectic collection of reggae-influenced punk and new wave and reggae-pop. The album ranges from well-known hits and classics like Blondie's version of "The Tide Is High" and the Specials' "Ghost Town" to more offbeat selections such as Poet & the Roots' "Five Nights of Bleeding" and Pere Ubu's "Heaven." Selecter's "Missing Words," English Beat's "Ranking Full Stop," and Patti Smith's "Redondo Beach" are some of the other tracks that define the term "punky reggae"; though the Police, perhaps the most prominent band to fuse punk and reggae together, aren't here, they're not missed too much -- tracks from UB40, Keith Levene, Steel Pulse, Althia & Donna, and Dr. Alimantado more than make up for their absence. With its wide-ranging selection of artists and songs, Ranking and Skanking does a fine, entertaining job of presenting how punk and reggae benefited each other by combining their strengths.

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