Various Artists

Work Your Soul: Jamaican 60s & Northern 1966-74

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The influence of the Motown sound didn't only spread throughout the U.S. -- Kingston, Jamaica, epicenter of the reggae world, was no stranger to soul music, either. But while the vast majority of the vintage Jamaican soul that's so far been reissued is inflected with the syncopated island beats that are the hallmark of reggae, the music compiled on the excellent Work Your Soul: Jamaican 60s & Northern 1966-74 is virtually indistinguishable from its urbanized inspirations, emphasizing more traditional, straightforward rhythms and arrangements with only the occasional hint of Caribbean patois in the vocals to belie the performances' geographic origins. Equally remarkable is that the majority of material here are originals, suggesting just how deeply the American soul idiom impacted the reggae community -- the artists weren't just adapting records out of Detroit, Memphis, and Chicago for their own needs, but striving to evoke the stateside sound at the risk of suppressing their native instincts. Highlights include the Marvels' "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show," Jackie Edwards' "I Feel So Bad," Jimmy Cliff's "Let's Dance," Laurel Aitken's "Never You Hurt," and Sugar Simone's "I Want to Know."

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