Reggae Legends
VP Records
4 CD Box Set
January 30, 2016

Track list
  1. Black Survivor
  2. Chant Down Babylon
  3. One Away Ticket
  4. Ragamuffin
  5. Bounty Lover feat. Lady G
  6. Jah Is Alive feat. Charlie Chaplin
  7. Nature Boy
  8. Turn Your Life Around
  9. Throw Out The Life Line
  10. Give Thanks
  11. That's The Way Life Goes
  12. Some Sweet Day
  13. Mr. Governor feat. Cocoa Tea
  14. Iyah
  1. Can't Stop Jah Works
  2. Sweep Over My Soul
  3. Ulterior Motive
  4. Hold Strong
  5. Final Call
  6. Jonah
  7. When Will I Be Home?
  8. You Can
  9. When Man On Earth
  10. Talking 'Bout feat. Morgan Heritage
  11. Poor Youths
  1. No Night In Zion
  2. Oh Father I Love Thee
  3. Is There A Place?
  4. Happy People
  5. Road Of Life
  6. Nah Give Up
  7. God Is My Friend
  8. Only A Fool
  9. Traveler
  10. African Skies
  11. A New Day
  12. Hardcore
  13. Spring Summer
  14. God & King
  15. Tell Me Why
  16. SaveThe World
  17. Journey
  1. Messenger
  2. Never Give Up My Pride
  3. Who Could It Be
  4. How Can You
  5. He Is My Friend
  6. Good God
  7. Heavan Help Us All
  8. What We Need Is Love
  9. Your World And Mine
  10. Crazy Baldheads
  11. Running Away
  12. War
  13. It's Me Again Jah
  14. Lord Give Me Strength
  15. In This Together
  16. Over The Hills
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4/5
In the successful VP series "Reggae Legends" (4 cd box with crucial albums) VP Records puts out a Luciano box with three Xterminator albums and a Dean Fraser produced set.

The man now called Luciano - which means the bearer of light - was born Jepther Washington McClymont in Davey Town, Jamaica on December 20, 1974. At the age of 17 he made his first recordings for producer Earl Hughes, but it was with Sky High from Mau Mau Productions that he got the opportunity to release his work on an album, although under the name Luciana. His Sky High produced material can be found on two albums: "Stuck On You (a combination album with another young singer called Presley) and "Don't Get Crazy". After working with Sky High he moved on to Castro Brown's New Name label before he teamed up with reggae vet Freddie McGregor, which resulted in the release of an album entitled "Shake It Up Tonight" aka "After All".

However, his real breakthrough came when he met Xterminator label head and producer Phillip "Fatis" Burrell. It was a series of trend-defying Xterminator singles that pushed his career in the right direction as they made his name and fame grow. It actually resulted in the release of his first Xterminator album "Moving Up". He rose to prominence at the height of the "Rasta Renaissance" in dancehall music, beginning with the album "One Way Ticket" in 1994. The next year he and Phillip "Fatis" Burrell released the (now) classic set "Where There Is Life". It contained such hits as "It's Me Again Jah", "Who Could It Be", as well the title track. The album was listed in the 1999 book "The Rough Guide: Reggae: 100 Essential CDs". In the years that followed Luciano rose to the top and undoubtedly became one of the major forces in developing modern cultural music. Luciano's association with Phillip "Fatis" Burrell and musicians like Sly & Robbie, The Firehouse Crew and Dean Fraser played an important role in Luciano's stages of development. In 1999 Phillip "Fatis" Burrell and Luciano parted ways. Their last studio release was the album "Sweep Over My Soul" and in 2000 the "Live" album, capturing the singer on stage in London at the height of his career. In 2001 he and Dean Fraser joined forces for the album "A New Day" and received a nomination for Best Reggae Album at the 2002 Grammy Awards. With the release of numerous quality singles and a slew of acclaimed albums Luciano remains an influential force in reggae music.

In 1984 Phillip "Fatis" Burrell started releasing a couple of Sugar Minott tunes including "More Dogs To The Bone" on his short-lived Kings & Lion label. In 1986 he founded the Vena label, kicking off with 12" singles by Leroy Mafia; the following year he was recording Jamaican singers such as Sanchez, Pinchers and Thriller U. Frankie Paul and Red Dragon both voiced hit tracks, and sampler albums from 1988 reveal established names such as Gregory Isaacs, Charlie Chaplin and General Trees alongside Burrel protégés such as Quench Aid, Lukie D, Conrad Crystal and Daddy Freddy, whose 1989 "Cater Fi She" album for "Fatis" was his debut. That same year saw the introduction of 'live' dancehall sets, and some seriously militant marketing of the Exterminator (later Xterminator) label, which mirrored the hard, driving riddim tracks and often uncompromising material found on it. Throughout the '90s he was one of the island's dominating producers with artists of the calibre of Ninjaman, Ini Kamoze, Admiral Tibett, Frankie Paul and Tony Rebel. However it was his working with artists like Luciano, Sizzla, Beres Hammond, Cocoa Tea and Mikey General that brought him and these artists huge success and international acclaim. Phillip "Fatis" Burrell's productions have always been among the best crafted, whether on refreshed vintage riddims or innovative drum-dominated tracks. He sadly passed away in 2011.

The first album "One Way Ticket" comes from 1994 and sees a young Luciano "chanting down Babylon" with nuff nuff excellent conscious tunes. The album was recorded at Gussie's Anchor Recording Studios with the help of musicians Sly Dunbar, Donald Dennis and Dean Fraser. The set contains nuff good tunes! "One Away Ticket" is regarded as one of the finest repatriation anthems ever written, but there's also the magnificent lovers duet with Lady G "Bounty Lover", one of our fav '90s tunes. Cultural deejay Charlie Chaplin joins him on the praising tune "Jah Is Alive". Luciano goes deejay style on "Give Thanks" and Cocoa Tea teams up with him for the social commentary tune "Mr. Governor".

CD 2 is the 1999 album "Sweep Over My Soul". Luciano's powerful voice glides over the rock-solid riddims laid by the Xterminator Crew. This album collects a compelling blend of fresh material and former singles. The latter includes one of his best ever performances, the epic hymn "Sweep Over My Soul" as well as "Final Call" - one of Luciano's tuffest singles - across one of those patented trashing, dubwise Xterminator mixes. Also included are the superb reality tune (including a deejay part from Luciano) "Poor Youths", the thumping stepper "Jonah" on an overhauled do-over of Leroy Smart's old Channel One chestnut "Ballistic affair" and the wonderful conscious tune "Ulterior Motive", delivered across the infectious "Stealing" riddim. The remaining six tracks - previously unreleased elsewhere - are all gems in their own right and match the high-quality standards of the aforementioned tried and trusted hits.

Dean Fraser, Ronald "Nambo" Robinson and Junior "Chico" Chinn met at a youthclub in Jones Town and the three boys would eventually form a brass section and they became the foremost horn section in Jamaica. Dran Fraser provided backing for Dennis Brown on several of his recordings for Joe Gibbs. In the second half of the '70s he released some albums and he has toured with countless Jamaican as well as non-Jamaican artists. The digital era did not affect his output since acoustic instruments such as the saxophone were still in demand. He toured extensively with Luciano from the late 1990s to the mid-2000s, as well as performing on and adding production to several of the singer's albums, including "A New Day", "Serious Times" and "Jah Is My Navigator".

CD 3 is the 2001 album "A New Day", which contains uplifting and positive messages, delivered over strong "live" played backing tracks, actually a mixture of mainly fresh originals and a few revitalized classic riddims like for example Dennis Brown's "Hold On To What You Got", Bob Marley's "Thank You Lord" and Jackie Mittoo's "A Darker Shade Of Black". The album opens with the nyabinghi flavoured "No Night In Zion", a strong spiritual track. From there the listener is taken on a musical journey which includes many enjoyable and entertaining moments. Too many highlights to mention, but as we have to point out some we certainly have to include "Road Of Life", "Nah Give Up", "African Skies", "God & King" and last but not least Luciano's tribute to the sorely missed "Crownprince of Reggae" Dennis "Emmanuel" Brown entitled "Oh Father I Love Thee".

The last album of the CD box is the 2000 live set "Live". It's a live registration of a show the "Messenjah" did at the Brixton Academy in London on the 1st March 1998 as part of the "Hail Kings Of Glory" tour, which brought him to the UK alongside Prince Malachi, Louie Culture, Sizzla, Mikey General, Dean Fraser and the Firehouse Crew. This album features live performances of hits from Luciano's Island-Jamaica albums "Where There Is Life" and "Messenger" and therefore includes such great modern roots tunes like "Messenger", "Lord Give Me Strength", "It's Me Again Jah" and "Your World And Mine". Furthermore Luciano performs three songs from Bob Marley & The Wailers as a homage to the "King of Reggae".

Excellent - friendly priced - box set!