The reggae subgenre known as "lovers rock" came into existence in England in the late 1970s, in part as a reaction to the heavy political and religious messages that had come to dominate the music by that point. By focusing on lighter, more romantic themes, lovers rock actually returned reggae to its roots-in its earlier incarnations as ska and rock steady, Rastafarianism and politics had been largely absent. This compilation mines the vaults of Fashion Records, one of the best and most influential British reggae labels. American fans, whose exposure to lovers rock has probably been mainly limited to the work of Mad Professor on his Ariwa label, may not recognize names like Barry Boom, Vivian Jones and Neville Morrison. But those who can appreciate the romantic potential of the reggae groove will be sure to respond to the super-smooth horn lines, sweet harmonies and swooning lyrical sentiments that are present here in every track. Highlights include Nerious Joseph's "Guidance," Philip Leo's "I Want to Be Loved" and the ska-inflected "Rebel Woman" by Vivian Jones.
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AllMusic Review by Rick Anderson