Various Artists

Reggae's Greatest Hits, Vol. 5

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In the late 1960s and early 1970s, as ska gave way to the more elastic rocksteady rhythm and which slowed and thickened into reggae, the criminally underrated singer and producer Derrick Harriot made a number of excellent recordings of his own, as well as coaxing beautiful performances out of artists as influential as the Ethiopians, the Kingstonians, and Big Youth. Originally released in 1990 as Riding the Musical Chariot, this collection of early reggae gems was reissued at budget price in 1995 as the fifth volume in Heartbeat's Reggae's Greatest Hits series. If there's a complaint to be made here, it's that Harriot himself only appears twice in the 17-track program (on "Solomon" and the exquisite "Do I Worry"). Well, that and the lame DJ treatment of "Do I Worry." But others hold up his high standards quite well -- the Ethiopians, in particular, do him proud with their gospel-flavored "Throne of Justice" and "No Baptism," while relative unknowns like Rudy Mills ("Long Story") and Lloyd and Glen "That Girl") make distinguished contributions as well. And then, of course, there's Big Youth, who keeps things hopping with his virtuosic DJ performance on the "Stop That Train" rhythm. Recommended.

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