Offering up a paltry 12 tracks, this survey of producer Duke Reid's Treasure Isle rocksteady sides still offers newcomers a well-rounded introduction to the cream of the era's music. Alongside rival producer Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, Reid truly came into his own during rocksteady's brief but potent flowering from 1966-1968. Using tenor saxophonist and Skatalite alum Tommy McCook as his musical director, Reid dominated Jamaican dancehalls with smashes by the Jamaicans ("Ba Ba Boom Time"), the Techniques ("Queen Majesty"), Phyllis Dillon ("Don't Touch Me Tomato"), the Paragons ("Mercy Mercy"), and many other important singers and vocal groups. Greatest Jamaican Beat: Rock Steady BaBa-Boom Time includes these tracks and a handful of top-drawer instrumentals by McCook and his Supersonics band ("Down on Bond Street"). Whether out on the floor or at home relaxing by the stereo, this rocksteady sampler should make for very enjoyable time.
AllMusic Review by Stephen Cook