Various Artists

The Best of Studio One, Vol. 2: Full Up

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As opposed to the original edition that had a mere 12 tracks and clocked in at under 40 minutes, this reissue with greatly improved sound quality certainly is Full Up. This is the second volume of classic cuts from Coxsone Dodd's legendary Studio One label and includes pocket bios of each of the artists, though infuriatingly few release dates. The majority of the tracks date from the rocksteady era well into the roots age, although a couple bookend these periods, and the set bounces across the years and genres. Skanking nimbly between established legends and a number of now mostly forgotten stars, hits, and rarities, every inclusion is a delight. The original version of Willie Williams' "Armagideon Time" (which the Clash later made their own), a pre-Culture Joseph Hill with his debut single, and the Sound Dimension's instrumental title track (versioned by the Mighty Diamonds and then covered by Musical Youth for their U.K. hit "Pass the Dutchie") are all of particular note. Carlton & His Shoes' exquisite "Love Me Forever," a pairing of Delroy Wilson and Slim Smith for a fabulous ska duet, and the appearance of DJ Lone Ranger versioning Smith's "Rougher Yet" are also welcome. The rest of the album, including the six bonus cuts added to this edition, is no less extraordinary. Hopefully, Heartbeat will continue releasing more material of this caliber.

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