Rebel Music: A Reggae Anthology Volume 2
Trojan Records
CD / 2LP
April 14, 2007

Track list
  1. Let's Get Together - Johnny & The Attractions
  2. Girl You're Cold - Hopeton Lewis & Glen Brown
  3. I Fell In Love - The Conquerors
  4. Fair Deal - The Progressions
  5. Run Come Dance - Glen Adams
  6. Can't You See - Ken Boothe
  7. Fu Manchu - Desmond Dekker & The Aces
  8. Soul Drums - Count Ossie & Leslie Butler
  9. Dry Up Your Tears - Bruce Ruffin
  10. This Life Make Me Wonder - Delroy Wilson
  11. Night And Day - The Maytals
  12. Music Keep On Playing - The Eternals
  13. Out There - The Kingstonians
  14. Mellow Mood - The Jay Boys
  15. You're No Good - Cornell Campbell
  16. Better Days - The Carltons (aka Carlton & The Shoes)
  17. Yim Mas Gan - The Abyssinians
  18. Tribal War - U-Roy Jr. & Keith Hudson
  19. Fort Augustus Rock - Joe Gibbs & The Professionals
  20. I'll Be Waiting - Alton Ellis
  21. One One Cocoa Fill Basket - Gregory Isaacs
  22. In Their Own Way - Dennis Brown
  23. Pride And Ambition - Leroy Smart
  24. KG's At Halfway Tree - The Simplicity People
  25. Purify Your Heart - Johnny Osbourne
  26. African Descendants - I Roy
  27. Darkest Night On A Wet Looking Road - Keith Hudson
  28. Burn Babylon - Sylford Walker
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3 Backing : 3 Production : 3 Sound quality : 3 Sleeve : 1
Trojan released the first volume of the anthology nearly 30 years ago, when a great deal of reggae music was very hard to come by, and certainly under represented in record stores.

That volume featured an excellent array of hard core roots, instrumental and classical vocal artists, ranging from Bob Andy's "You Don't Know" to D. Brown's "Concentration."

Volume One was far more than a beginners guide, introducing some music of wisdom and insight.

This second part of the set is less ground breaking since so much of the genre is easily available now, but it does feature some strong tunes, particularly from the "rocksteady meets early embryonic roots" styles. The merging point between the two genres is apparent here, and a number of the tunes represent a period in time before the roots genre had fully formed and flowered -- but they also portray a time before roots had hardened into tokenism, and insincere cliche.

The album opens intensely with "Let's Get Together", which sounds very similar to early Abyssinians, albeit with a throw away lyric which spoils the intensity of the tune. Ken Booth contributes the observant "Can't You See", an icy, terse melancholy narrative of loss and loneliness.

Bruce Ruffin's existential "Dry Up Your Tears" is so very like Bim Sherman's vocal style, whilst the atmospheric Maytals "Night and Day" displays more than a hint of Delta blues, Cajun and country style inflection and mood.

Glen Adams' eerie "Run Come Dance" features a ghostly folk Klezmer style horns melody, raising it beyond the mood of its straight forward dancehall lyrics.

Cornell Campbell's misanthropic "You're No Good" features a quasi Psychedelic consciousness, which again, gives it a sense of introspection and reflective depth not common to the Rocksteady period.

Carlton & The Shoes' "Better Days" is pure Gnostic early roots music with a Psychedelic edge to the the horns and vocal melody.

There is certainly some forgettable filler here, and of course, since it's Trojan, there is the intensely frustrating overlap with other compilations -- are Sanctuary attempting to utterly flood and saturate the market and render reggae music totally commodified and banal?

However, there are some deeply thoughtful ,unusual and contemplative tracks here which shouldn't be overlooked by the sincere/obsessive collector.