Reggae Hits Vol. 34
Jet Star
2 CD
April 28, 2005

Track list
Disc 1 :
  1. Imagination - Beenie Man & Devonte
  2. Longing For - Jah Cure
  3. Hungry - Fantan Mojah
  4. Ina De Ghetto - Hero
  5. Murderer - Chuck Fender
  6. Higher Higher - Mr Vegas
  7. Handcart Boy - Mr Perfect
  8. Princess Gone - Jah Mason
  9. Dance To The Chaka - Beenie Man
  10. Finally - Sanchez
  11. What A Friend - George Nooks
  12. Let Me Love You - Singing Melody
  13. Free Up - Capleton
  14. Ain't Gonna See Us Fall - Sizzla
  15. Unconditional Love - Gentleman
  16. Strength Of Love - Luciano & Toni Anderson
  17. Everything Is Alright - Anthony Q
  18. Inspiration - Nato
  19. Hush - Red Rat
Disc 2 :
  1. Herbman Hustling - Sugar Minott
  2. Country Life - The Mighty Diamonds
  3. Sweet Reggae Music - Nitty Gritty
  4. She's Mine - Barrington Levy
  5. Mi Love Mi Girl Bad - Flourgan & Sanchez
  6. Stick By Me - Johnny P & Thriller U
  7. Pirates' Anthem - Cocoa Tea, Shabba Ranks & Home T
  8. Spirit - Chaka Demus
  9. Too Experienced - Barrington Levy
  10. Respect To You - Beres Hammond
  11. Love Not Simple - Ken Boothe & Cutty Ranks
  12. Bam Bam - Pliers
  13. Ring The Alarm Quick - Tenor Saw & Buju Banton
  14. You Turn Me On - Bounty Killer/African/Simpleton/Major Mackerel/Colin Roach/Ian Sweetness/ Glen Ricks/Jennifer Lara
  15. Good Life - Cocoa Tea
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 3 Backing : 3 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 2
It is rare that the free "bonus disc" in a double album set is superior to the main disc, but this has been true a few times over the last two months, notably with the Makasound Kiddus I and Chinna releases-- In both cases, the bonus DVD far exceeded the value of the main disc.

This is also true here : The main CD is a collection of reasonable, acceptable r 'n' b influenced reggae, and is pleasant enough in itself -- but there are only two or three stand out tracks, notably the inspired "Hungry" by Fantan Mojah, a conscious and aggressive track which rises high above the rest of the album. Hero's "Ina De Ghetto" over Jah Lloyd's "Soldier Pon The Corner" bass line is also a powerful yet lyrical track. The rest is somewhat saccharine, cliched and sentimental.

Then we get to CD 2, the "free disc" --now, this is a different propostion altogether, compiling a very respectable selection of old Rockers tunes (Mighty Diamonds' "Country Life") and early digital tunes, (Barrington Levy, Cocoa Tea) and a powerful selection it is. It doesn't boast any great rarities, but no matter -- this is a good selection. It kicks off with the hammering digital aggression of Sugar Minott's "Herbsman Hustling" -- this is not the loose, slow paced Rockers snare driven Wackie's cut, but a nervous, wired digi rendition, tight, flexing and confident.

Also notable is the excellent Plier's cut to The Maytals "What A Bam Bam" -- this digi cut lives up to the righteous, reflective power of the original, and the rhythm track is far more inventive than the current bashment styles coming out of JA which are becoming increasingly cynical in their conveyor belt lack of originality.

Cocoa Tea contributes the tune much sampled by drum and bass and early Junglist artists, "Pirates' Anthem".

The only pointless track here is the great, but much overplayed "Ring The Alarm" -- surely we all have a copy of this by now, so why include it yet again? What is the logic?

These "reggae greatest hits" style discs are usually bland and disposable -- not for serious buyers at all -- but this Jet Star series is usually well thought out, and cannot be so easily dismissed. There are some top tunes here for sure.

Buy for the bonus disc alone, a strong collection of (albeit fairly easily available) tunes -- and just consider that the first disc is a freebie!