In spite of its title, this 18-track compilation doesn't explore the historical roots of reggae, but it does, more or less, feature reggae of a roots nature. Lee "Scratch" Perry is well represented, with three of his best tracks with the Upsetters ("In the Iaah," "Dyon-Anaswa," and "Roast Fish and Cornbread," all of which are odd, goofy classics that could only have come from Perry), and a couple of his Bob Marley productions ("Kaya," "Sun Is Shining") are also here. Gregory Isaacs ("Night Nurse") and Dennis Brown ("So Say Jah") are also represented by a couple of their better-known tracks, as are a pair of artists from the dancehall generation, Sanchez ("Take These Chains and Set Me Free") and Beenie Man ("People Dead"). When all is said and done, Roots of Reggae seems to have been thrown together rather whimsically, and while it features some excellent tracks, it's difficult to determine what they're all doing together in this package.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett