Various Artists

Groove Yard [Mango]

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Since its release in 1989, Groove Yard has remained one of the best introductions to reggae music available. Because it draws on the very deep Island/Mango catalog, its contents cover just about every important reggae artist: Burning Spear, Toots & the Maytals, Jacob Miller, Augustus Pablo -- it's like roll call at the Reggae Hall of Fame (the only curiosity being the exclusion of Bob Marley, who was probably judged by the album's programmers to be a universally familiar figure already). Best of all, the artists are all presented at their very best: Junior Murvin delivers the classic Black Ark production "Police and Thieves," Burning Spear intones "Marcus Garvey," Augustus Pablo dubs things up with "King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown" (arguably the finest example of dub ever recorded), and so on. Every reggae fan will have a couple of quibbles, but overall this is one reggae album that could be confidently recommended to anyone who wants just one for their collection.

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