Eek-ology: Reggae Anthology

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The VP label's archival reggae imprint 17 North Parade continues its exhaustive and excellent series of compilations with Eek-ology, a roundup of singjay Eek-A-Mouse's golden age and all the hiccuping hits that came with it. Boisterous and brash straight out of the gate, the set features his breakthrough 1979 hit, "Once a Virgin," with all the innuendo and "ba-di-boing-boing"s right in place from the start, then there's the career high point "Wa-Do-Dem," a 1981 cut from producer Henry "Junjo" Lawes that remains the singer's signature hit. Putting both the criminals and the cops on high alert, "Operation Eradication" displays his stern and serious side, plus here, the song appears in its 12" version, just like "For Hire and Removal," "Do You Remember," and a handful others, all of these songs stretching their legs in desirably long mixes. Collectors get a big surprise with the raw versions of "Wa-Do-Dem," "Assassinator," and two other songs that were recorded in-studio for John Peel's BBC radio show, plus the early 45s "Creation," "My Father's Land," and "No Wicked Can't Reign" all make their digital debut. His later work is missing, so look for genre-jumping numbers like "The Freak" or his cover of Led Zeppelin's "D'yer Mak'er" elsewhere, but as "true dancehall" Eek-A-Mouse sets go, this one is on top.

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