Various Artists

Trojan Reggae Duets

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This installment in the Trojan budget-priced box set reissue project is one of the better ones to have come down the pike in a while. These three CDs boast 50 historic tracks, including the best example ever, and the mother of all Jamaican duet sides Stranger Cole and Patsy Todd's awesome "When You Call My Name" is a thriving example, on wax, that opposites really do attract. Cole's mellow soul voice is wrapped loosely around Patsy Todd's edgy shriek which in its day, and even now, set off a chain reaction on sound systems and in shops all over the Caribbean. But there is so much here: Marcia Griffiths and Bob Andy's classics "Private Number," and their version of Nina Simone's hit "(To Be) Young, Gifted and Black"; Derrick Morgan and Patsy Todd's four sides, including "Housewives Choice"; Tyrone Evans and Bruce Ruffin's "I Am a True Believer"; Max Romeo and Niney the Observer's "The Coming of Jah," and Peter Lewis and Paul Lewis' "Ethiopian Land," just to name a few. The range and styles differ from dread beat reggae to ska to rocksteady and lovers rock, but in the duet, Jamaican music found a way to appeal to a broad crossover audience. There is nary a weak cut in the mess and for the price of a single disc, it can't be beat.

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