Various Artists

400% Dynamite

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

Another triumph for the Soul Jazz label, this compilation will open the ears of the most jaded collector and the neophyte alike. How they managed to get all these artists to agree to appear together on one record is hard to fathom. But thank God. This one is broader in scope than previous records. Not only is there a lot of straight reggae here, but also the ska of Prince Buster, the heavy dub of King Tubby, and even a few strong doses of dancehall. This is a minor quibble, but the comp misses the highest rating for its inclusion of a Toots & the Maytals song, "54-46 Was My Number." There's nothing wrong with the song -- it's great. But its inclusion among the obscure (or at least the lesser-known) tracks is jarring. A lesser-known track or even an alternate take would have worked better here. To include one of reggae's greatest singles amidst a collection of obscurities like the rest of these tracks is somewhat perverse.

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