Ultimate Collection

Chaka Demus & Pliers

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Ultimate Collection Review

by Rick Anderson

DJ Chaka Demus and singer Pliers are a real double threat: Both are highly gifted artists, one of them a better-than-average dancehall toaster and the other a sweet-voiced crooner with a cool, assured delivery, and they have managed to attract the attention of some of reggae's finest producers, most notably Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. So one would expect their output to be a bit more consistent. But their albums are actually rather spotty, making a collection like this especially welcome. The problem is that the material most likely to end up on such a collection isn't always the best they have to offer. The hit "Murder She Wrote," for example, is an obvious choice, yet it features some of Demus' most awkward toasting and Pliers' most off-key singing. By contrast, the self-produced "It Hot" is a gem, as is the swinging and tuneful "Boom Smilin'." The duo's cover of "Twist & Shout" is a fun novelty, while "War a Gwaan" brings a dreader perspective to bear -- but is marred, again, by a mismatch between the key Pliers sings in and the key the musicians play in. The strong performances do ultimately outnumber the weak, though, making this compilation a worthy acquisition for fans of dancehall and modern roots reggae.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Chaka Demus & Pliers 03:35 Amazon
2 Chaka Demus & Pliers 04:05 Amazon
3 Chaka Demus & Pliers 04:02 Amazon
4 Chaka Demus & Pliers 04:06 Amazon
5 Chaka Demus & Pliers feat: The Taxi Gang / Jack Radics 03:59 Amazon
6 Chaka Demus & Pliers 03:36 Amazon
7 Chaka Demus & Pliers 03:57 Amazon
8 Chaka Demus & Pliers 03:54 Amazon
9 Chaka Demus & Pliers 04:02 Amazon
10 Chaka Demus & Pliers 04:09 Amazon
11 Chaka Demus & Pliers 03:44 Amazon
12 Chaka Demus & Pliers 03:58 Amazon
13 Chaka Demus & Pliers 04:18 Amazon
14 Chaka Demus & Pliers 04:16 Amazon
15 Chaka Demus & Pliers 03:55 Amazon
16 Chaka Demus & Pliers 04:13 Amazon
17 Chaka Demus & Pliers 03:27 Amazon
18 Chaka Demus & Pliers 04:05 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick