Dancehall 2: The Rise Of Jamaican Dancehall Culture
Soul Jazz Records
May 19, 2010

Track list
Disc One
  1. Lone Ranger - Barnabas Collins
  2. Nicodemus - Dog Is Better Than Gun
  3. Johnny Osbourne & Papa Tullo - Rock And Come On Ya
  4. Ini Kamoze - Trouble You A Trouble Me
  5. Half Pint - One Big Ghetto
  6. Yellowman - Sensemilla
  7. Shabba Ranks - Respect
  8. Trinity - Vampire
  9. Barry Brown - Two House Department
  10. Madoo - Have You Ever Been To Heaven
  11. Early B - History Of Jamaica
  12. Papa San - Money A Fe Circle
Disc One
  1. Tiger - When
  2. Welton Irie - Bill Fold Wa You Fa
  3. General Trees - Everything So So So So
  4. Johnny Osbourne - Trench Town School
  5. Edi Fitzroy - The Gun
  6. Anthony Johnson - Strictly Rub A Dub
  7. Jah Thomas & Radics - Saying Dub
  8. Professor Nuts - Ina De Bus
  9. Errol Scorcher - Roach In De Corner
  10. Triston Palma - Collie Man
  11. Barry Brown - Tourist Season
  12. Buju Banton - Massa God World A Run
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Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 4/5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
This is the second installment -- and a far better one than the first edition -- in the Soul Jazz Records' series of classic Jamaican Dancehall goodness. Another slew of big names, artists and producers alike, is included, bringing the listener some of Dancehall's best tunes. Only few real rarities are featured here, but there are a large number of great classics from the finest Dancehall artists ever. Compiled and with extensive sleeve-notes by Steve Barrow (author of Rough Guide to Reggae and founder of the defunct Blood & Fire Records) this dbl cd set is a great collection for veteran reggae fans, while newbies are perfectly introduced to original Jamaican Dancehall culture. The compilation covers the period from the late 70's to the early 80's, when producers started switching onto digital instrumentation, which changed the whole culture of Jamaican music.

Lone Ranger's second version of "Barnabas Collins" -- originally recorded for Coxsonne Dodd's Studio One label on the "You Don't Care" riddim -- across Slim Smith & The Uniques' "My Conversation" riddim is the first of 12 tracks gathered on Disc One. "Barnabas Collins", and also Nicodemus' "Dog Better Than Gun" and "Rock And Come On Ya" by Johnny Osbourne & Pappa Tulla are representative for the early Dancehall days when Soul Syndicate and the Roots Radics were the leading studio bands. Later on Sly & Robbie entered to dancehall arena and surprised the dancehall massive with their young protégé Ini Kamoze, whose hard-hitting "Trouble You A Trouble Me" along with "Wold A Music" made a serious impact. Other worthwhile tracks on this disc are Half Pint's awesome "One Big Ghetto" across the "Letter To Zion" riddim, Trinity's roots killer "Vampire" from 1980, Barry Brown's 1979 hit tune "Two House Department" over the "Take Five" riddim, and Early B's top class 12" single "History Of Jamaica" on the "Answer" riddim, which was produced by Jah Thomas for his Midnight Rock imprint.

Disc Two kicks off with Tiger's "When", which comes across a minimalistic digital riddim laid by Steely & Clevie, the dominant studio band of the post-"Sleng Teng" period. Just like the first disc this one features a whole heap of tunes truly worth hearing. Tracks such as General Trees' "Everything So So So", Johnny Osbourne's "Trench Town School", Edi Fitzroy's hit from 1980 "The Gun", Anthony Johnson's "Strictly Rub A Dub" across the "Heavenless" aka "Entertainment" riddim, Professor Nuts' "Ina De Bus", and Triston Palma's "Collie Man" undoubtedly belong to Dancehall's finest moments. All in all no weak tune around.

If your collection of this particular branch of reggae music is a little thin, this great collection will come as a godsend.