RAS has been churning out quality roots reggae since its inception in 1979, when it was only a minor part of the bigger picture for label head and (at the time) radio show host Doctor Dread. Since then, the radio show has become a thing of the past, but the "Real Authentic Sounds" of RAS and the Jamaican roots that the label champions have flourished. RAS Portraits: Roots Rock Reggae is a mix tape of sorts from Doctor Dread, a hand-picked selection of songs from the label's deep catalog of top-shelf artists like Barrington Levy ("Prison Oval Rock"), Jacob Miller ("Tenement Yard"), Black Uhuru ("Dread in the Mountain"), and the artists who probably best personify the RAS sound, Israel Vibration ("The Same Song"). Many of the albums that these tracks are taken from are well worth investigating in full, but this is a fine collection and a great introduction to the label.
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AllMusic Review by Wade Kergan