Royal Muzik ~ Best Of Lustre Kings Productions (2002-2006)
Diamond Edge Records
March 18, 2007

Track list
  1. Liberation - Yami Bolo & Capleton
  2. Take Your Time - Freddie McGregor
  3. Worthy To Be Praised - Sizzla
  4. Music Is Life - Turbulence
  5. See The Wicked Run - Natty King
  6. Never Get Me Down - Jah Mason
  7. Fit And Strong - Marlon Asher
  8. Revolution Pon Di Wicked - Turbulence
  9. War And Revolution - Yami Bolo
  10. Fire In The Barn - Lutan Fyah
  11. Straight Up - Natural Black
  12. What Will It Take - Luciano
  13. Moving Time - Natural Black
  14. Show Love - Natty King
  15. Thunderous Sound - Norris Man
  16. Woman Of Principle - Lutan Fyah
  17. Home Grown - Anthony B
  18. Love Is The Only Absolute - Lutan Fyah
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3
Since Corrin "King Corrin" Haskell and Andrew "Moon" Bain started to release their production works on their own Lustre Kings imprint in 1999, the label has established itself as an outlet for the highest grade of Rastafari reggae music. Their first cd release, the compilation album "Culture Dem", hit the streets in February 2002 and really brought the Lustre Kings production camp into the light. Along with the release of 7" singles it were great solo artist albums by Turbulence ("The Future") and Lutan Fyah ("Time and Place"), as well as the various artists compilation "Calling All Jah Children" (a selection of the label's catalogue put into a legal mixtape format), the next chapter of "Culture Dem", the "New Day Riddim" set, which combines artists from across the Carribean including the powerful Virgin Islands movement, and their latest compilation "Red Razor Riddim", that brought Lustre Kings real recognition and appreciation from many cultural roots fans worldwide.

"Royal Muzik ~ The Best Of Lustre Kings (2002-2006)" is a Japanese exclusive release, featuring top-of-the-line tracks from the first five years of the Lustre Kings' cd catalogue. The album kicks off in great roots style with "Liberation", an awesome combination tune delivered by Yami Bolo and Capleton across the riddim of the same name. Next drops one of three cuts for the "Red Razor" riddim featured on this set. Reggae vet Freddie McGregor hardly ever disappoints and "Just Take Your Time" once again proves that he's a very good singer who really knows how to get his flow over a sweet 'one drop' riddim. Also Marlon Asher, who achieved to get international recognition with his hit tune "Ganja Farmer", manages to come up with an above par piece called "Fit And Strong". However it's Natty King's powerful sung "Show Love" that really stand outs and thus outmatches the efforts of Freddie McGregor and Marlon Asher.

The remaining tracks -- except Lutan Fyah's wicked acoustic, bluesy sufferer's tune entitled "Love Is The Only Absolute" -- featured on this compilation provide a cross-section of the riddims they have released so far including the very successful "Fortune Teller" and "Alarm Clock". Furthermore the listener is treated to tunes over the following riddims: "Credential", "The Shining" and the "No Politics".

One of the stand out riddims included here is the "Credential" riddim, actually a remake of the classic riddim that featured Don Carlos singing "Them Never Know Natty Dread Have Credential" for Channel One in 1976. Singer Luciano delivers a real big tune entitled "What Will They Think", with Sizzla's "Worthy To Be Praised" and Anthony B's "Homegrown" being matching cuts. Jah Mason's "Never Get Me Down" and Lutan Fyah's "Fire In The Barn" are above par efforts across "The Shining", which is a very good riddim.

"No Politics", a bubbling rub-a-dub riddim, is voiced by Turbulence, Natural Black, and Lutan Fyah. The latter's "Woman Of Principle" is an excellent tune, while Natural Black's "Moving Time" and Turbulence's "Music Is Life" are decent efforts. Natty King's "See The Wicked Run" across the massive "Alarm Clock" riddim surely belongs to the best tracks on this album and also Turbulence's fiery "Revolution Pon Di Wicked" and Natural Black's wicked "Straight Up" over the same riddim are truly worth of hearing.

Yami Bolo's "War And Revolution", the label's biggest selling record to date, and Norris Man's haunting "Thunderous Sound", are both excellent tunes underpinned by the "Fortune Teller" riddim which combines digital beats with live instruments.

This collection of tunes is a worthwhile overview of Lustre Kings productions as well as a great introduction for those who are not familiar with the label's output. Due to being a Japanese release probably not easy to find at your local record store, but check out Ernie B's Reggae online, also accessible through Lustre Kings' website.