Irie Reggae Hits ~ Best Of Dancehall & Chill
July 10, 2006

Track list
Disc 1

  1. Here Comes The Hotstepper - Ini Kamoze
  2. Gimme The Light - Sean Paul
  3. Living Dangerously - Barrington Levy & Bounty Killer
  4. Heads High - Mr. Vegas
  5. For You - Spragga Benz
  6. Wicked In Bed - Shabba Ranks
  7. Can't Satisfy Her - I Wayne
  8. Murder She Wrote - Chaka Demus & Pliers
  9. Intoxication - Gentleman
  10. Ring The Alarm - Tenor Saw
  11. Subterranean Homesick Blues - Sizzla
  12. Champion - Buju Banton
  13. Tekk - Vybz Kartel
  14. Place Mash Up - Sanchez & Flourgon
  15. Roots, Reality & Culture - Bounty Killer
  16. No Guns To Town - Natty King
  17. Don't Dis The Trinity - Capleton
Disc 2

  1. Bad Boys - Inner Circle
  2. Putting Up Resistance - Beres Hammond
  3. Worth His Weight In Gold (Rally Round) - Steel Pulse
  4. Thank U Mamma - Sizzla
  5. No Letting Go - Wayne Wonder
  6. You Don't Love Me (No, No, No) - Dawn Penn
  7. Zunggunungguguzungguzeng - Yellowman
  8. Wa-Do-Dem - Eek-A-Mouse
  9. Knockin' On Heaven's Door - Luciano
  10. Living In The Positive - Nasio
  11. Throw Down Your Arms - Sinead O'Connor
  12. Kaya - Bob Marley
  13. Wild World - Maxi Priest
  14. Gi Gi Winer (Reggaelypso Version) - T.O.K.
  15. The Same Song - Israel Vibration
  16. Natural Mystic - Black Uhuru
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 2
We have developed a certain kind of restraint when we get a reggae sampler compiled by a major label. The main reason for this is because we were far too often treated to a disappointing, mainstream-oriented and above all non-representative sampling of the genre. But in case of the Time/Life release "Irie Reggae Hits ~ Best Of Dancehall & Chill" we have to admit that they have released a sampler (compiled by Doctor Dread of RAS Records and Mike Jason) which we would like to qualify as... 'an exception to the rule'. Here you don't get bored by worn-out songs from the usual suspects like for example Big Mountain, June Lodge, Toots & The Maytals and UB 40. This is a very nicely done sampler which -- on Disc One -- turns the spotlight on Dancehall music, although a few reggae-oriented tunes (think Warrior King's "No Guns To Town" and Gentleman's "Intoxication" across Donovan 'Don Corleon' Bennett's "Drop Leaf" riddim) are included as well. Apart from tunes such as Ini Kamoze's "Here Comes The Hotstepper", Sean Paul's huge crossover hit "Gimme The Light" and "Murder She Wrote" by Chaka Demus & Pliers, this disc mainly features tunes that haven't gained any attention from a mainsteam audience.

Disc Two features the "Chill" part, which actually stands for roots-oriented Reggae music. Again some real nice tunes around like for example Sizzla's "Thank U Mamma", Beres Hammond's "Putting Up Resistance", and "Natural Mystic" by Black Uhuru, but to hear Dawn Penn sing her only huge hit song "You Don't Love Me (No, No, No)" isn't exactly a treat for a reggae fan mainly due to the fact that this tune has already appeared on countless compilations. Luciano could have been represented with a far better (i.e. original) tune than the Bob Dylan cover "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" (from the "Is It Rolling Bob?" tribute album) and also the inclusion of Sinead O'Connor's "Throw Down Your Arms" is questionable. Why not include the original version done by Burning Spear?! Besides that Wayne Wonder's crossover hit "No Letting Go" on the "Diwali" riddim and T.O.K.'s "Gi Gi Winer (Reggaelypso Version)" sound somewhat out of place amongst all the roots tunes gathered on this disc.

Overall this disc 2-CD set -- available at timelife.com -- is a good introduction to those who are not that familiar with the genres, in particular because it includes old tunes as well as newer material.