Sunday, 25 November 2018

War Ina Babylon: An Island Reggae Anthology


   

This is a superb compilation covering the offerings from Chris Blackwell's Island Records, which along with Trojan, did so much to bring reggae skanking from Jamaica to the UK and US mainstreams. The elephant in the room on this set, of course, is the non-appearance of Bob Marley & The Wailers. He was Island's multi-million selling artist. it is not clear why he doesn't appear, but personally, it is not a problem. I am familiar with all his work and own it all. This set gives me a chance to play it on "random" and listen all sorts of reggae sub-genres - ska, bluebeat, mod ska, rock steady,  skinhead reggae, classic pop reggae, roots, dub, DJ toasting, lovers rock, dancehall and ragga.  They are all represented here and the remastered sound is exceptionally good, considering quite a lot of reggae was pretty rudimentarily recorded. I love listening to this every now and again. it is thoroughly uplifting. It is slightly light on the early seventies commercial, string orchestrated "Young, Gifted And Black"/"Suzanne Beware Of The Devil" style material, as most of that type of material was released on the Trojan label.

Here are some of my highlights:-

"Boogie In My Bones" - Laurel Aitken
"Bonanza Ska" - Carlos Malcolm & His Afro-Jamaican Rhythms
"My Boy Lollipop" - Millie Small
"Rock Steady" - Alton Ellis & The Flames
"Stop That Train" - Keith & Tex
"The Harder They Come" - Jimmy Cliff
"Breakfast In Bed" - Lorna Bennett
"This Is Reggae Music" - Zap Pow
"Book Of Rules" - The Heptones
"Marcus Garvey"- The Heptones
"King Tubby Meets The Rockers Uptown" - Augustus Pablo
"Reggae Got Soul" - Toots & The Maytals"
"Party Time" - The Heptones
"Police & Thieves" - Junior Murvin
"Soldier & Police War" - Jah Lion
"War Ina Babylon" - Max Romeo
"Roast Fish & Cornbread" - Lee "Scratch" Perry & The Upsetters
"96 Degrees In The Shade - Third World
"Prodigal Son" - Steel Pulse
"Guess Who's Coming To Dinner"  - Black Uhuru
"Warrior Charge" - Aswad
"This Bed's Too Big Without You" - Stella Hylton
"Night Nurse" - Gregory Isaacs
"Pass The Kouchie" - The Mighty Diamonds
"Back To Africa" - Aswad
"Don't Turn Around" - Aswad
"Revolution" - Dennis Brown
"Boom Shack A Lack" - Apache Indian

B+

The Deezer sample below does not contain all the material. it is merely a sampler.

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