Various Artists

Trojan Box Set: Instrumentals

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Another Trojan box set, and one can hardly decide between applauding and ripping out their hair. In keeping with the rest of the series, there are three discs, which were obviously sequenced by a roomful of chimps who never heard the songs. It's bad enough when mood and chronology were totally ignored on the single-genre compilations, but this set careens around the years like a pinball -- tempos suddenly shift from frenetic to snail-paced and moods shift faster than a manic depressive. Does anyone at Trojan actually sit down and listen to these sets as sequenced? Apparently not. As with the other boxes, the liner notes are of no consequence, but at least the sound quality is uniformly good. That said, the sheer variety of these tracks is truly breathtaking, and the box is stuffed with exceptional songs, is littered with hits, and features more than enough hard-to-find gems to set collectors' pulses racing. No matter what listeners are looking for, it's bound to be here, with all genres represented. Want hits? There's "Liquidator," "Eastern Standard Time," "Reflections of Don D," "For a Few Dollars More," and "East of the River Nile," among many others. Fancy a John Crow skank? Check out Joe Gibb's "Fat Dog," an instrumental version of Peter Tosh's "Magadog." Fancy a golden oldie Jamaican-style? Try Val Bennett's "The Russians Are Coming (Take Five)." Want haunting keyboards with a DJ chanting along? Go for Lloyd Chamber's "In the Spirit." In fact, no matter what instrument listeners prefer, it will be showcased somewhere here in every style -- even harmonicas. Diversity is both this set's beauty and downfall, and one almost dreads -- yet awaits with baited breath -- what's in store for the listener on volume two.

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