Various Artists

Trojan Rockers Box Set

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AllMusic Review by

A budget-priced, three-disc roots reggae compilation like this one can be something of a no-win proposition for the label. If the selections are familiar classics, then it leaves itself open to the accusation of simple-minded catalog recycling; if they're more obscure, listeners will likely criticize its quality (most, though not all, obscure reggae recordings are obscure for a reason), and if the program is a mixture of the familiar and the obscure, someone will always wonder why Classic Track A was left out to make room for Obscure Track X, especially where Classic Track A is a superior song to Classic Track B by the same performer, which was included. But before we shed tears of sympathy for the Trojan label in putting together its series of three-disc box sets, let's pause for a moment and remember what an unbelievably deep and rich catalog of vintage reggae it has at its disposal. With a minimum of critical thought and effort, Trojan ought to be able to put together an all-killer, no-filler three-disc set of '70s reggae. And with this box, they really have done so to a very impressive extent. Kudos to the compilers for thinking to include the extended 12" mixes of such roots classics as Johnny Clarke's "Just Give Up Badness" and Leo Graham's brilliant "Voodooism" (the dub mix of which is one of producer Lee "Scratch" Perry's finest moments), and the extended DJ-combo version of Johnny Clarke's "African Roots" (featuring DJ Clint Eastwood). Other star turns include performances by Sugar Minott ("In the Residence"), Cornel Campbell (the masterful if rather sexist "Control Your Daughters") and the Morwells ("In God We Trust"). Junior Delgado's vocal performance is a bit weak, as always, and the In Crowd are a bit on the slick side, as always, but for a gently priced overview of reggae's classical period one could hardly do better than this set.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
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blue highlight denotes track pick