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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

VARIOUS ARTISTS

By JUDSON KILPATRICK
Published May 5, 2006

THE ROUGH GUIDE TO SKA
World Music Network

While most Rough Guides feature songs from a number of labels, all 20 of these tunes were produced by the late Vincent “Randy” Chin, most famous as founder of VP Records. All songs were recorded in Jamaica circa 1964 (and sound like it), featuring many pioneers of this influential music (how many “waves” are we up to?). The Skatalites, of course, perform on many, including instrumentals “Malcolm X” and Henry Mancini’s “Baby Elephant Walk” (Go Dancin’ Homer!). Two major reggae singers appear in their early male duet days: Stranger and Ken features Ken Boothe, and Alton Ellis performs doo-wop on Alton and Eddie’s “Let Me Dream.” Other performers of note include the pioneering Lord Creator (who delivers his smooth hit “Stay Out Late”), the Maytals, Cornell Campbell and trombonist Rico Rodriguez (a good friend of Chin’s) contributing two of the liveliest tracks.