Various Artists

Reggae Anthology: Penthouse Classics

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Just as Coxsone Dodd's Studio One, was one of the most powerful forces in reggae in the 1960s and 1970s, the Penthouse label dominated dancehall reggae in 1980s and beyond. It seems just about every major dancehall artist has spent at least some time at Penthouse Studio in Kingston, Jamaica. Reggae Anthology: Penthouse Classics is an attempt to anthologize some of the material that has come out of the label since the 1980s. Arguably the biggest artist in the Penthouse stable is Buju Banton, and he is well represented here with three tracks. His ability to meld rough vocals with sweet melodies on songs like "Wicked Dickie," which features singer Nadine Sutherland, and "Bonafide Love," with singer Wayne Wonder, helped create a formula that dancehall artists would follow for years to come. That rough-and-ready formula is heard throughout the album, and nowhere is it done with greater effect than when Marcia Griffiths joins with Cutty Ranks' on "Half Idiot." Reggae veteran Beres Hammond's also provides a highlight with "After the Fight," an ageless classic that will hold up well over time, as will just about every other track on this album.

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