Various Artists

The Best of Reggae Sunsplash

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Held annually in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Reggae Sunsplash is the world's largest reggae festival. This excellent CD offers a sampling of some of the 1982 Sunsplash's highlights and contains performances by big names like Toots & the Maytals, Mutabaruka, Yellowman, the Gladiators, the Mighty Diamonds and the Twinkle Brothers, all of whom are in good or excellent form. One thing The Best of Reggae Sunsplash shows is reggae's diversity -- Toots' exuberance ("Never Get Weary," "Beautiful Woman") is a long way from Mutabaruka's angry dub poetry ("Hard Times Love," "Drug Kulcha") and the dubwise of Yellowman ("Church in Session"), Brigadier Jerry ("Pain") and the quirky Eek-A-Mouse ("Neutron Bomb"/"Assassinator"). And on the Mighty Diamonds' "Right Time," one can hear why some admirers of classic African-American soul music also hold classic reggae in such high regard. This disc, released by a small and obscure label based in Silver Spring, MD, may be hard to find but would be well worth the search.

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