Various Artists

Trojan Box Set: Ganja Reggae

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Jamaica has been called the loudest island in the world, and given its size (some 4,000 square miles), it undoubtedly releases more records per square foot than any other place on the planet, and with the possible exception of Trinidad, no country has a more political pop music. While railing against Babylon remains a continued concern, Jamaican musicians have also turned their dizzying array of styles, versions, toasts, and dubs to more secular subjects, including hundreds of paeans to ganja. British label Trojan Records licensed Jamaican records for distribution during the 1970s and 1980s, and has raided the vaults for numerous reissues over the years, leading to this three-disc box set of hymns to herbal conditioning. Spanning late ska, classic roots reggae, DJ toasts, and early dancehall, Ganja Reggae boasts 50 tracks of smokin' classics. Included are Glen Browne's recipe for disaster "Collie and Wine," Clancy Eccles' hopeful "Ganja Free," and Neville Brown's defiant "Babylon Don't Touch My Sensi." Lee "Scratch" Perry's production of "Kaya" by Bob Marley & the Wailers is here, along with the dub version, and a credible cover of the song by Ronnie Davis. Another Perry production, Bunny and Ricky's spooky "Bush Weed Corntrash," is an obvious highlight. The various Trojan box sets always yield treasures, and this one is no exception. Pound for pound, it is the best ganja set out there.

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