Taken from reggae's heady early days, this 20-track Trojan sampler is a perfect entrée for neophytes: Neither biased towards hits or relatively obscure gems, the disc digs into the cuts that especially made the British charts light up during the first half of the ‘70s. Rasta takes a powder while Marley, the Maytals, and Desmond Dekker revel in Jamaica's early love affair with U.S. R&B. But with a just few solid shots from John Holt and the Ethiopians completing the vocal portion of the program, instrumental and DJ highlights from U-Roy, the Upsetters ("Return of Django"), Augustus Pablo ("Java"), and Roland Alphonso ("Phoenix City") deliver most of the goods. And let's not forget Andy Capp's latter-day rude-boy gem "The Law" and King Stitt's chalice-wielding mantra "Herbman Shuffling." With the knob-twiddling likes of Clement Dodd, Clancy Eccles, and Leslie Kong in attendance and more booty from Dave and Ansel Collins and Derrick Morgan, this is a disc that will please both pundits and the floor-filling masses.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook