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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean


Published April 14, 2006

Reggae Vibes
Wackie’s 3239

African Roots Act II
Wackie’s 617

African Roots Act III
Wackie’s 1717

I Love Jah—Meditations
Wackie’s 510

Jamaica Super Dub Session
Wackie’s 1720

Lovers Rock—Love Joys
Wackie’s 2383

Mini Showcase—Horace Andy Meets Naggo Morris/Wayne Jarret
Wackie’s 1716/1722

Natures Dub
Wackie’s 306

Showcase—Junior Delhaye
Wackie’s 1382

Wicked Ago I Feel It—Sugar Minott
Wackie’s 1718

By the time reggae was a full-fledged international force, spreading from Jamaica to London and America like a serpent vine on high, sound systems had popped up in cities everywhere. Considering ska and rocksteady borrowed tremendously (often reggae-fying huge hits overseas) from its English downpressors, this reciprocation was unavoidable. Founding the Jah Upton system in 1977, Lloyd Barnes and Munchie Jackson took their irie heritage to New York and founded Wackie’s House of Music on White Plains Road. Inspired by the likes of Studio One and Black Ark (Lee Perry’s gem until he burned it down in creative temperament), Wackie’s began pumping out product from every reggae artist in town. This reissue series is golden to understanding the style’s international influence, spiced here with urban patois. Roots these are not, however; by the early ’80s, with drum machines rampant and pop on their mind, expect a ton of synthetic keyboard sounds and quirky samples. The 10 discs are a mixed bag, as one would expect: sometimes “reissue” doesn’t equate to “necessary.” But killer efforts, such as Sugar Minott’s Wicked Ago I Feel It and the Meditations’ I Love Jah are worth seeking out. Styles are not completely confined, as dub and lover’s rock appear, though studio quality keeps each release similar in tone. This is budget reggae worth the price, if not only for a brief slice of history.