Various Artists

Respect to Studio One

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This is really more of a label sampler than a thematic compilation, as all of the 33 tracks have appeared on Heartbeat releases. What is for sure is that all of the rocksteady, ska, and dancehall numbers were recorded at the legendary Studio One recording studio, with the equally legendary Clement "Coxsone" Dodd producing. There's little in the way of liner notes, and nothing in the way of dates (even as approximations); that could, after all, be setting a dangerous precedent in the hazy world of reggae reissues, where mysterious vagueness about the source material seems to be a prerequisite of sorts in order to gain official re-release. One could reasonably deduce that much of this is from the '60s and early '70s, and it's very tasty stuff indeed, both by major players (Lee Perry, Alton Ellis, the Skatalites, Marcia Griffiths, Sugar Minott, the Heptones, Burning Spear, Horace Andy, Don Drummond) and minor/unknown ones (Jackie Mittoo, the Termites, Ken Boothe, the Cables). Major reggae fans will most likely prefer to find most or all of the Heartbeat releases from which these tracks were plucked. But for those who want a big portion of relatively unknown vintage reggae, and are not concerned with building a comprehensive library, this is a solid investment.

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