The Selecter

Street Feeling

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Like most acts signed to the Trojan/Receiver group of labels, the Selecter have been undermined by a ridiculous amount of live album reissues/repackages and "best-of" releases that really aren't. Since the ever-growing Sanctuary family swallowed up the dodgy labels, things have gotten a little better, but some bad old habits remain. Shame because Street Feeling is just about the best collection you can get of the Selecter's later years, when the ska revival band wasn't nearly as vital, but still driven, still fun. The bummer is the outside packaging, which doesn't give up the fact that the live album, Out on the Streets from 1992, is included in total, and disc one is totally sourced from the band's three-volume Trojan Songbook tribute. That's not a bad deal at all, but longtime fans run the risk of unknowingly repeating tracks and deserve a bit more guidance. Once you've broken the seal, the liner notes give up the sources -- something the old Trojan/Receiver would rarely do -- and tells the story of the Selecter pretty well. Disc one's collection of reggae chestnuts could use a better running order, but a simple push of the "shuffle" button should correct Sanctuary's tendency to put like-tempo numbers together. "Pressure Drop" sounds too mannered but everything else is lively. Lee "Scratch" Perry's "Shocks of Mighty" really catches fire and both "Johnny Too Bad" and "Herbsman Shuffle" drip out of the speakers with an unexpected deepness. The underrated Out on the Streets runs in order on the second disc with the band able to rattle off their hits with the same giddy exuberance found on their early recordings. The last four tracks come from lesser live albums and focus on guest spots from reggae greats Dave Barker and Prince Buster. Buster's version of "Madness" is the only tight track in the bunch, but this sloppier, druggier Selecter is at least interesting, and you don't have to buy the dreadful I Want Justice: Live to experience it. Don't pass up either of the first two albums for this, but if you've got 'em, Street Feeling pulls together all the post-heyday Selecter you need.

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