Various Artists

Heavyweight, Vol. 3: Blood & Fire Sampler

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The third volume in the Blood & Fire label's fine series of compilations is a slight disappointment after the second volume, which included several tracks that had not been released elsewhere; this one consists entirely of selections taken from the label's previous seven releases. However, as an introduction to the catalog of the world's best reggae reissue label, it serves a worthy function, and does so at a list price of only ten bucks. As usual, the program features a nice mix of performers both famous (Johnny Clarke, Horace Andy, Junior Byles) and relatively obscure (the Impact All-Stars, the Morwells). Blood & Fire is especially known for its labor-of-love dub compilations, but on this collection it's the DJs who stand out, while most of the dub tracks are serviceable but not spectacular. The album's hands-down highlight is the "Discomix" of "King Pharaoh's Plague," which is presented here in a singer-DJ combo featuring Trinity and Yabby You (billed on this album under his given name of Vivian Jackson). Horace Andy's "Pure Ranking" is also very fine, and the "Discomix" dub version by Bunny Lee is a standout; also excellent is U-Brown's DJ cut on a dub mix of Johnny Clarke's "Stop the Tribal War." Definitely recommended, but any devoted reggae fan should really own the whole Blood & Fire catalog, rendering this compilation superfluous.

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