Various Artists

Best of Ska, Vol. 1 [Beacon]

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This mostly unannotated (or, more correctly, generically annotated) ten-song collection of early ska features Desmond Dekker & the Aces ("Intensified"), the Ethiopians ("Train to Skaville," "Come On Now"), Don Drummond ("Man in the Street"), the Maytals ("It's You," "Never You Change"), the Blues Busters ("Wings of a Dove," "Shame and Scandal in the Family"), Dandy Livingstone ("Rudy, a Message to You"), and Dave & Ansel Collins ("Double Barrel"), all mastered cleanly and good and loud. Best of Ska, Vol. 1 is unexceptional in almost every other respect except for the attractive low price, but there are better, more coherent ways to start listening to ska that will include more material and a better account of the music's development and evolution.

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