Various Artists

More Intensified Original Ska (1963-1967)

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Picking up the pace where the first Intensified! volume left off, More Intensified rounds up a further album's worth of ska classics and rarities for another phenomenal trip down memory lane. The album is divided evenly between vocal tracks and instrumentals, with the latter leaning heavily toward the Skatalites. There again, members of that famed group were stalwarts of just about every studio band on the island, and thus their talents fired virtually every ska single released. So, even though the group is only credited on four of the songs here, their playing permeates much of this collection, from Don Drummond's instrumental masterpiece "Man in the Street" to Marguerite's ode to the trombonist, the tribal-ized "Woman Come." (In fact, their relationship was closer than adoration, for Marguerite not only sang with the Skatalites, she was also Drummond's girlfriend.) More scintillating instrumentals are performed by the Soul Brothers, the post-Skatalites band formed by Roland Alphonso and Jackie Mittoo, which became better known under their later name, the Soul Vendors. Beyond the fabulous musicianship, the album also showcases equally superb singers and vocal groups. The album kicks off with a classic from one of the island's best, the Maytals, performing "Six and Seven Books of Moses." Desmond Dekker and the Four Aces also get religion on "Mount Zion," while the Ethiopians perform one of their best-loved numbers, "Train to Skaville." A young Eric Morris puts in a welcome appearance, and Stranger Cole unleashes "Run Joe," backed by the uncredited, but unmistakable, Techniques. One of the more intriguing tracks is Lord Brynner and the Sheiks' "Congo War," a succinct summing up of the current (circa 1965) state of the region, that name checks every major player in the conflict. Although the song is brass-driven, alert listeners can still pick out Jackie Mitto's piano. A final, unusual treat is "The Great Wuga Wuga," an early (1967) DJ track featuring the popular Sir Lord Comic. So, something for everyone here, a sizzling collection of ska for every taste.

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