Various Artists

Songs for Reggae Lovers, Vol. 3

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The Songs for Reggae Lovers series continues into its third volume with this budget-priced, two-disc, 30-track collection of recent and vintage romantically themed reggae music. As usual, the artists represent a mix of legendary talents (Sugar Minott, Freddie McGregor, Gregory Isaacs, Cocoa Tea) and younger, less established artists (Ziggi, Gappy Ranks), and the songs are something of a mixed bag as well: Tarrus Riley's "She's Royal" is a gently, quietly perfect tribute to an apparently perfect woman, while the great crooner Sanchez teams up with Cynthia Schloss for a slick but nicely rocking version of the Memphis soul classic "I'm Your Puppet," and Cocoa Tea gives a stirring performance on "One Away Woman" (assisted by an unusually funky rhythm provided by Henry "Junjo" Lawes). On the less exciting side are a strangely bloodless and generic contribution from Ini Kamoze ("Girl ‘E'"), a phoned-in performance by John Holt on "Ghetto Queen," and a slightly embarrassing attempt at lovers rock by Half Pint ("Substitute Lover"), whose voice is much better suited to party-time dancehall anthems. The two-for one pricing means that even with its uneven distribution of killer and filler material, though, this volume in the Songs for Reggae Lovers remains a solid value.

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