Various Artists

Rebel Music: Anthology of Reggae Music

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Rated "essential" by The Rough Guide to Reggae, this is a great collection of rocksteady and reggae from the 1970s, with the main emphasis on reggae. And with the likes of Keith Hudson, Michael Dyke, and the glorious Horace Andy, how can you really go wrong? Big Youth's "Screaming Target" is a certified classic, as is his seminal "S90 Skank," but there's truly not a bad track here. Three excellent Dennis Brown cuts, some fairly early Gregory Isaacs, and Junior Byles' "Beat Down Babylon," a great song that hasn't got the credit it really deserves. Even the rocksteady material, like "The Russians Are Coming," is top-notch. A better booklet would be helpful, placing everything in a historical context, but the music is faultless. One caveat, however: Make sure you get the original version, not the 2002 revised edition, which has many changes, and few of them for the better. Just check for the cheesy, garish cover, and you'll know you're on the right track.

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