Various Artists

This Is Ska and Reggae Roots

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This three-disc set of Jamaican reggae and British ska is pretty a much hit-or-miss affair, with some amazing tracks mixed in with some not so amazing tracks, and unfortunately none of it is particularly essential, since pretty much everything here is easily available elsewhere. Among the obvious high points are a pair of Bob Marley classics, "Mr. Brown" and "Small Axe," Peter Tosh's "400 Years," the Specials' version of "Ghost Town," and Augustus Pablo's cool and quirky "Alive & Sounding" instrumental. But be careful. Pablo's track is found on disc three, which has its tracking seriously messed up, beginning with track seven, which is supposed to be Owen Gray's "Island in the Stream," but is actually Marley's "Fussing & Fighting" (which is supposed to be track 14, but isn't). Gray's song is track eight, with everything off by one track the rest of the way, until the disc ends with Lee "Scratch" Perry's "Huzza a Hana." Remember Augustus Pablo's "Alive & Sounding"? It's supposed to be the tenth track on the third disc, but is actually track 11. This is hardly an essential compilation in the first place, and with the tracking out of whack, it becomes even less essential.

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