These 16 tracks, all taken from the Trojan catalog, were recorded between the late 1960s and late 1970s. While the premise for the compilation is slim -- much reggae, after all, can be used for the dancefloor -- it's a decent CD that will likely expose listeners to a good deal of stuff they haven't heard, unless they're deep reggae specialists. That probably could not be said of one of the performances, Desmond Dekker's "The Israelites" (one of the few big reggae crossover hits ever), and Dennis Brown, Big Youth, and Toots & the Maytals are pretty big names. Most of the cuts, however, are given over to relatively little-known artists such as Dave Barker, Susan Cadogan, and Joya Landis. The earliest selections have a prime rocksteady feel (Toots & the Maytals' 1968 track "54-46 That's My Number" is a highlight in that respect), and even the ones from the mid- to late 1970s have something of an old school rocksteady mood to the rhythms. If you like your reggae soul covers on the eccentric side, you'll find a few on board: Big Youth's dubby "Hit the Road Jack," Janet Kay's "Loving You" (a song not really worth redeeming), Horace Faith's "Black Pearl," Susan Cadogan's "Hurt So Good," and Joya Landis' "Kansas City." Lord Creator's melodic 1969 delivery of "Kingston Town" is the original version of a song later covered by UB40. The liner notes by Ian McCann are reasonably informative, and there are dates and songwriter credits for every track. A real feat of note among such vintage reggae anthologies.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger