Various Artists

Pay It All Back, Vol. 4

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Britain's On-U Sound label has a small but devoted international following whose avant-reggae-loving members wait with bated breath for the release of each new title. The Pay It All Back series helps the adherents of this cult survive the wait between releases by compiling singles and tracks from forthcoming albums (often in alternative mixes). Since the label is notoriously unreliable when it comes to release dates, or even when it comes to releasing planned titles at all, inclusion on a Pay It All Back program is the only release some of these tracks ever enjoy. Pay It All Back, Volume 4 is one of the best installments in the series. It features two Dub Syndicate numbers (both of which were actually later released on the band's very fine Echomania album) as well as five from the funk-reggae supergroup, Strange Parcels (led by guitarist Skip McDonald and Living Colour bassist, Doug Wimbish) and, best of all, a stunning collaboration between Norman Grant (of the Twinkle Brothers) and a Polish folk group called the Trebunia Family Band, the result of which is an absolutely wonderful fusion of reggae and East European cultures that works far better than you'd have any reason to hope. There are also nice spoken-word cameos by the inscrutable Andy Fairley and Last Poets alumnus, Jalal. This is as good an introduction as you could want to the controlled insanity that is On-U Sound.

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