Various Artists

The Story of Jamaican Music: Tougher Than Tough

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A superlative introduction to the world of Jamaican music, Tougher Than Tough is a treasure trove of information, filled with unforgettable music. Across four discs and 95 songs, this set spans the entire history of the island's vibrant music scene, hitting all the major stylistic bases along the way, and rounding up many of Jamaica's greatest artists. It's evident that a great amount of thoughtful time and effort went into this package and, although collectors will howl at the many omissions and some of the selections, this set wasn't intended for them, but for a general audience interested in beginning to explore the music more deeply. With that in mind, the package includes a lushly illustrated 65-page booklet written by Steve Barrow (author of The Rough Guide to Reggae), who provides an exceptionally lucid historical overview. The rest of the booklet offers information on every track, including producer, composer, and release date. The music itself is sequenced chronologically, allowing the listener to chart the myriad of stylistic changes over the years. Disc one begins in 1958 with the Folkes Brothers' "Oh Carolina," arguably the first ever proto-ska release, cut during producer Prince Buster's first ever recording session. It continues through the rise of pure ska and through the shift to rocksteady. Disc two concentrates on the reggae years and the rise of the DJs, while the third is given over entirely to roots. The final disc brings things bang up to date, following the trajectory of the dancehalls. The set comes full circle with the final track, Shaggy's smash hit cover of "Oh Carolina." From rude reggae to ragga, dulcet vocal groups to dueling DJs, The Story of Jamaican Music is indeed just that. Of course, there's a wealth of equally masterful music that didn't make the cut, and the booklet discusses a multitude of songs not included. But this is history 101; hopefully, students will continue their studies on their own.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 The Folkes Brothers 02:40 Amazon
2 Laurel Aitken 02:47 Amazon
3 Owen Gray 02:27 Amazon
4 Theophilus Beckford 02:50 Amazon
5 Derrick Morgan / Patsy Todd 02:40 Amazon
6 Derrick Morgan 02:50 Amazon
7 Jimmy Cliff 02:25 Amazon
8 Millie Small 02:01 Amazon
9 The Maytals 02:25 Amazon
10 The Wailers 02:48 Amazon
11 Don Drummond 03:23 Amazon
12 Justin Hinds & the Dominoes 02:51 Amazon
13 The Skatalites 02:28 Amazon
14 Prince Buster 02:56 Amazon
15 Prince Buster 03:22 Amazon
16 Derrick Morgan 02:26 Amazon
17 Alton Ellis 02:24 Amazon
18 The Paragons 03:06 Amazon
19
Delroy Wilson 02:51 Amazon
20 Ken Boothe 03:20 Amazon
21 Hopeton Lewis 02:49 Amazon
22 The Jamaicans 03:20 Amazon
23 Desmond Dekker 02:42 Amazon
24 Bob Andy 03:05 Amazon
25 The Techniques 03:31 Amazon
26 Dobby Dobson 03:15 Amazon
27 Phyllis Dillon 02:31 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Desmond Dekker 02:48 Amazon
2 The Maytals 02:54 Amazon
3 The Ethiopians 02:25 Amazon
4 Max Romeo 02:48 Amazon
5 The Uniques 03:38 Amazon
6 Stranger Cole / Lester Sterling 03:09 Amazon
7 The Upsetters 02:25 Amazon
8 Harry J All-Stars 02:52 Amazon
9 The Melodians 04:16 Amazon
10 Jimmy Cliff 03:40 Amazon
11 Bob & Marcia 03:06 Amazon
12 U-Roy 02:27 Amazon
13 Pat Kelly 03:54 Amazon
14 Dave & Ansel Collins 02:47 Amazon
15 Winston "Niney" Holness 03:05 Amazon
16 Eric Donaldson 03:02 Amazon
17 Delroy Wilson 02:33 Amazon
18 Dennis Brown 02:33 Amazon
19 John Holt 03:19 Amazon
20 Dennis Alcapone 02:30 Amazon
21 Big Youth 02:50 Amazon
22 Ken Boothe 03:44 Amazon
23 Dennis Brown 03:07 Amazon
24 Johnny Clarke 03:38 Amazon
25 Junior Byles 03:22 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 The Heptones 02:58 Amazon
2 I-Roy 03:48 Amazon
3 Burning Spear 03:24 Amazon
4 The Mighty Diamonds 03:15 Amazon
5 Roman Stewart 03:18 Amazon
6 Leroy Smart 03:06 Amazon
7 Jacob Miller 02:37 Amazon
8 Max Romeo 04:04 Amazon
9 Junior Murvin 03:46 Amazon
10 Culture 03:29 Amazon
11 Delroy Wilson 04:04 Amazon
12 Bob Marley 04:04 Amazon
13 Althia and Donna 03:54 Amazon
14 Gregory Isaacs 03:43 Amazon
15 The Wailing Souls 03:51 Amazon
16 Sugar Minott 03:08 Amazon
17 Willie Williams 05:08 Amazon
18 Black Uhuru 04:54 Amazon
19 Junior Delgado 04:06 Amazon
20 Freddie McGregor 03:42 Amazon
21 Dennis Brown 03:28 Amazon
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