Various Artists

Loch Ness Monster

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The reggae compilation Loch Ness Monster was originally issued on the Trojan label in 1970, and was targeted squarely at London's skinhead audience -- a subculture that had already demonstrated its love of solid rocksteady beats by making huge chart hits out of tunes like "Longshot" and "Guns of Navarone." Unfortunately, Loch Ness Monster was a mixed bag at best, featuring such dreadful material as the title tune (ruined by Laurel Aitken's abrasive attempts at monster sounds), Fay Bennett and Martin Riley's slack and stupid "Self Control," and a piece of truly gratuitous and silly slackness by King Horror called "Hole." The original program was redeemed slightly by the inclusion of a couple of fine organ instrumentals from the Upsetters, but that redemption was partial at best. This CD reissue goes further toward making the album worthwhile by adding no fewer than 14 bonus tracks, most of them quite a bit more enjoyable than the material on the original album. These include more fine organ-based instrumentals courtesy of the Upsetters and Ansel Collins, and a surprisingly lovely credited to Lloyd & Claudette titled "Queen of the World." These are not enough to make this album a must-buy, but they do turn it into a creditable document of the London rocksteady scene.

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