The Wailing Souls

Reggae Legends, Vol. 1

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This disc appears at first to be a compilation of singles or selected album tracks, but it is in fact a repackaging of the album Stormy Night, which the Wailing Souls recorded with producer King Jammy in 1989. On Reggae Legends, Vol. 1 the songs appear in a different order, and a few titles have been changed -- "What Is What" appears here as "Mix Up," "Carry On" is now "Move On," etc. If the original album were easily available elsewhere in its original version this might raise some eyebrows, but as it is this appears to be an honest reissue (if a strangely marketed one). In any case, the music is of very high quality. The combination of the Wailing Souls -- at that time one of the rootsiest of reggae's harmony trios -- with the reigning king of digital dancehall rhythms was not an obvious one, but it worked beautifully. On songs like "Fire Coal" and "You Please Me" (a.k.a. "She Pleases Me"), the blend of computerized textures and old-school rhythmic patterns is perfect, and Winston Matthews and crew are in fine voice. Newcomers should start with the band's 1970s work, but for fans this should be considered an essential purchase.

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