Various Artists

Solid Gold from the Vaults, Vol. 3

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This third Solid Gold collection features obscure rocksteady and early reggae from 1968-1971, including plenty of choice DJ and instrumental sides. The first half focuses on the men at the mike, with Niney Holness and the Observer Allstars paving the way with an eerily stratospheric version of their classic "Blood and Fire" cut. Dennis Alcapone follows, displaying his considerable toasting skills on workouts of John Holt's "Togetherness" and the Uniques' "Blessed Are the Meek." After a respite supplied by groove-heavy instrumentals from organist Winston Wright and the Harry J Allstars (featuring Val Bennett on tenor), there is more fine DJ work on a few rarefied tracks by the seldom-heard Sir Harry and a fine offering by I-Roy Junior. For the second half, the focus shifts to vocal material, notably some stirring harmony cuts by the Righteous Flames and the Bleechers. And bringing things full circle, pianist Gladstone Anderson contributes the incredible noir instrumental "Movie Star" and Lee "Scratch" Perry and the Upsetters offer up some predictably askew studio textures on the proto-dub track "Takio" (replete with all manner of vocal emanations from Scratch). A rough and wobbly set, but one that will definitely please broad-minded reggae fans.

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