The Meditations

Reggae Crazy: Anthology, 1971-1979

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The Meditations were one of the earliest vocal trios to follow reggae's trend towards a darker, "dreader" sound in the early '70s; although their first album was released in 1977, they had recorded numerous singles up to that point, and some of the best of those songs are compiled on this album (along with some tracks recorded later). The piercing falsetto singing on "Must Be a First" is reminiscent of the Congos at their best (perhaps owing in part to the distinctive sound of Lee Perry's Black Ark studio, where this song was recorded), and there's an echo of the Mighty Diamonds in the sophisticated harmonies on "Get Left." But "Woman Piabba" draws on calypso traditions to a degree unusual in reggae, while "Play I" employs a drum arrangement (courtesy of Sly Dunbar) that prefigures some of the innovations that would later be heard in U.K. reggae. The album's title track, a tiresome one-chord vamp, is the only clunker on this album. Everything else is strictly killer.

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