Various Artists

This Is Crucial Reggae: Funk Party

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Trojan's This Is Crucial Reggae series is really a group of samplers (each runs around 35 minutes in length) showcasing the label's vast ska and reggae licensing catalog, and the template of the other titles in the series is to mix bona fide Jamaican hits with reggaefied covers of familiar international pop and soul songs. This entry concentrates on funk and soul covers, but lacks any huge Jamaican hits, and while there are certainly interesting versions here, none of them are vital as either reggae or funk performances. In fact, it's actually pretty disorienting to hear "Shaft" (done by the Chosen Few) and "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" (done by the Pioneers) with reggae rhythms and approaches, while "Kung Fu Fighting" (done by Lloyd Parks) amazingly manages to somehow sound less odd than the original version, hard as that is to believe. In the end result, Crucial Reggae Funk Party feels a bit like a novelty album, and despite the title, nothing here is particularly crucial.

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