Monday, January 15, 2007

Studio One Rarities Volume 2- C.D. compilation

This is an excellent mix of popular songs by legendary toasters like Dennis Alcapone and rarities alike. The old Trojan collection "Dee Jay's Choice" started the tradition of compiling work by various deejays singing over other artists' records, often referred to as "sing-jaying". This disc features more from Clement "Coxsonne" Dodd's enormous stable of talent, and features hard to find songs by the likes of Jah Jesco and Little Joe along with rare pictures and an essay by English reggae expert Steve Barrow.
All the tracks on here are strong, making this an appealing collection for serious reggae fans and newbies alike. They also left the legendary U-Roy off of this compilation, as if to reinforce the rarity element here. This makes "Studio One D.J's -Volume 2" a particularly successful Soul Jazz collection; the label's releases are often short (this one being no exception, running at a little over an hour for a c.d. or double album), which can be infuriating when contemplating a promising new Soul Jazz release, which is padded with material easily found elsewhere. With Trojan practically giving away their enormous back catalogue in the form of really cheap box sets, it is hard for a premium priced label like Soul Jazz to justify putting out tracks like "Phoenix City" for the hundredth time on any of their compilations. This collection also uses a decent variety of musical backing tracks; they are a healthy mix of familiar seventies 'riddims' and older ska sounds punctuated by some lively horns on cuts like Jah Jesco's "West Gone Black".
Prince Jazzbo's "Crab Walking" and Lone Ranger's "Keep Coming A' The Dance" are both extended versions. The former is an upbeat number about dancing to upbeat tunes, using the well known "Skylarking" record, including its chorus, in this re-take. It is edited to include the instrumental version before the vocals return for the last two minutes of the song. Lone Ranger's second cut on this disc, "Keep On Coming a the Dance" ends this compilation. It too is edited to segue into itself. Given the plethora of available tunes for these collections, and in light of "Studio One D.J.'s Volume 2" clocking in at less than sixty-five minutes, Soul Jazz ought to add a few more songs to these releases. It's an excellent package, but it would be easy to make it better; about twenty- five percent better, for running time, would be great.

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