Old generals never die, they merely fade away. But in Jamaica rhythms never even fade, they reappear time and time again. The Stalag rhythm first saw release in 1973, as Ansel Collins' instrumental "Stalag 17." A dozen years later, producer Winston Riley revived it for young DJ Tenor Saw, and the result was the earth shattering smash "Ring the Alarm." On to a winner, Riley would eventually gather up two full albums worth of versions of the rhythm, Stalag 17, 18 and 19 and Stalag 20, featuring a host of legends -- Augustus Pablo, Horace Andy, Sugar Minott, Big Youth, and General Echo amongst them. Stalag 2000 is a millennial reminder of the rhythm's potency, compiling classic and newer cuts. It's a diverse collection of artists and lyrical themes, veteran vocalists like Freddie McGregor, Beres Hammond, and Marcia Griffiths rub shoulders with hot younger dancehall heroes like Buju Banton and Bushman. From cultural toasts, religious devotions, raggamuffin reality, and daily life, the artists find new ways to bring the rhythm alive. The compilation's final 17th track is a brand new megamix, bringing together a quintet of some of the rhythm's most masterful versions, from Tenor Saw's original, a shared (posthumous) duet with Buju Banton, to classics by Candyman, General Echo, and Sister Nancy. In Jamaica, a great rhythm never dies; it's just reborn anew in the hands of great artists.
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AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene