Various Artists

The Reggae Box

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

It's hard not to think that Hip-O's The Reggae Box will be the definitive word on the genre, not just because it spans four discs, but because Hip-O has open access to the Island vaults, and Island is to reggae as Sun is to rockabilly, meaning it's the defining force and leading light. With that as a base and with cross-licensing as a secret weapon, this could have been a stunner, but instead it just is a very good history that tends to lean toward the contemporary instead of the classic. At first, this doesn't seem to be a problem, particularly because the first disc runs through pre-reggae and early-reggae classics at an engaging clip, something that continues through the second disc. Then, things begin to bog down with good, but not classic songs, and it becomes easy to notice that some big, big songs by the likes of Bob Marley, Black Uhuru, Lee "Scratch" Perry, and Peter Tosh are missing, among many others. What here is hardly bad -- and as a rough history, it's pretty terrific -- but it's hard not to be slightly disappointed that it isn't definitive, given its ambitions and possibilities, especially when compared to the tremendous 1992 set The Story of Jamaican Music: Tougher Than Tough. Still, this is a good, even educational listen, and few sets come as close as this to being truly comprehensive. Still, it's not as comprehensive as it could have been, and it's hard not to wish that it was more sweeping than it is.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:51
2 2:01 Amazon
3 2:07
4
2:43
5 2:49 Amazon
6 2:50 Amazon
7 3:13
8 3:22
9 2:54
10 2:44
11 2:49
12 3:19
13 2:26
14 3:31
15 2:45
16 2:35
17 3:12 Amazon
18 2:24
19 2:38
20 4:16 Amazon
21 2:50
22 3:44
23 3:07 Amazon
24 2:58
25 3:39

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 4:04
2 5:40
3 4:01
4 4:34
5 3:30
6 3:59
7 3:59 Amazon
8 4:34
9 3:52
10
4:10
11 3:56
12 4:04
13 3:37
14 3:45
15 3:47
16 3:46
17 3:50
18 3:47
19 4:04
blue highlight denotes track pick