Album review
Reggae Anthology:
Music Works Classics - The Gussie Clarke Story
VP Records

Tracking list

  1. Mighty Diamonds - Pass the Kutchie
  2. Gregory Isaacs - Rumors
  3. JC Lodge - Telephone Love
  4. Lady G - Nuff Respect
  5. Shabba Ranks & Admiral Tibet - No Competition (remix)
  6. Deborah Glasgow - Champion Lover
  7. Home T, Cocoa Tea & Shabba Ranks - Holding On
  8. Cocoa Tea, Home T & Shabba Ranks - Pirates Anthem
  9. Deborah Glasgow & Shabba Ranks - Champion Lover
  10. Deborah Glasgow & Shabba Ranks - Donít Test Me
  11. Shabba Ranks & Krystal - Twice My Age
  12. Gregory Isaacs & Dennis Brown - Big All Around
  13. Home T, Cocoa Tea & Shabba Ranks - Stop Spreading Rumors
  14. Gregory Isaacs - Red Rose For Gregory
  15. Gregory Isaacs - Mind You Dis
  16. Shabba Ranks - No Bother Dis (remix)
  17. Freddie McGregor & Snagga Puss - Carry Go Bring Come
  18. Papa San - Dance Hall Good To We
  19. Dennis Brown, Mutabaruka & Ini Kamoze - Great Kings of Africa
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5

VP Records' "Reggae Anthology" is a wide-ranging series of comprehensive compilations exploring the last three decades of recorded Jamaican music. Each volume of the Reggae Anthology contains a four-color, 12-16-page booklet with unique, historical photographs, rare original artwork, informative liner-notes by a noted reggae writer, and a comprehensive track listing. One of the producers and labels that have played an important role in the history of Jamaican music is Augustus "Gussie" Clarke and his "Music Works" imprint. Gussie Clarke actually emerged in the early seventies when he, barely 20, first produced the U Roy tune "The Higher The Mountain" and then Big Youth's excellent "Screaming Target" album. During the seventies he recorded many of the greatest names in reggae including Leroy Smart, I Roy, Gregory Isaacs, Dennis Brown and Augustus Pablo, to name a few. For his recording sessions he mainly took his artists to the renown Channel One studio, which came to an end when he opened his own state-of-the-art studio called "Music Works" in 1987. The first single to emerge from his own studio was Gregory Isaacs' "Rumors", which became a massive hit, as did "Telephone Love", JC Lodge's big club hit across the same riddim. Gussie had abandoned his solid, rather traditional sound and now utilized a high-tech computerized sound, which instantly proved very successful. Also Gussie's pairing of deejay star Shabba Ranks with female singers as well as the combination with Home T and Cocoa Tea were huge successes. Thus Gussie Clarke established himself as the leading producer and hitmaker in the late eighties and early nineties. Throughout the mid-nineties he concentrated on building a new studio, Music Works II, and only occasionally attracted attention with his production work, like for example with Freddie McGregor's "Rumours" which topped the UK reggae charts in 1997.
"Music Works Classics - The Gussie Clark Story" is a wonderful revival selection from the vaults of Augustus "Gussie" Clarke. With the exception of the Mighty Diamonds' classic "Pass The Kutchie", performed over a reworking of Studio One's "Full Up" riddim, this set features only tunes that incorporate Music Works' high-tech computerized sound. Every track has been part of Gussie's success story and have dominated the dancehalls and reggae charts in Jamaica and abroad. This well compiled set is studded with musical gems from start to finish. Highly enjoyable!

Teacher & Mr. T.