Although he is far from a household name, Ken Khouri was perhaps more instrumental than anyone in establishing a true music business in Jamaica in the early '50s. He built a recording studio and founded Federal Records on the island in 1954, and it was his studio and facilities that producers like Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, Duke Reid, and Prince Buster used in the early going to build and grow a unique and internationally viable pop music in Jamaica, transforming American R&B, soul, and pop into ska, rocksteady, and reggae by turning the beat over on its head. Khouri released scores of singles on the imprint, including the 40 presented here in this two-disc (disc one covers 1964 to 1972 while disc two covers 1973 to 1982) survey of the label’s catalog, and sides like Hopeton Lewis' “Sounds and Pressure,” the Tartans' “Dance All Night,” the Paragons' “Talking Love,” John Holt's “Stagger Lee,” Delroy Wilson's “I’m Still Waiting,” and Tinga Stewart's “Play de Music,” although none reached audiences much past Jamaica’s local dancehalls, show the progression of the music as it built toward its commercial and international zenith with Bob Marley & the Wailers -- take away Khouri's early vision for a viable and healthy music scene in Jamaica and the rest of the world could very well have never even heard of Bob Marley.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2