Various artists album review
Studio One Dancehall Selection

Tracking list

  1. Alpheus - Mama Prayed
  2. Glen Washington - Wages Of Sin
  3. Sugar Minott - Saving My Love
  4. Dennis Brown - Forget Me Not
  5. Dana V - Brotherly Love
  6. J.D. Smoothe - Leter To Myself
  7. Alpheus - Why You Got To Leave Me
  8. Glen Washington - It Was You
  9. Sugar Minott - No One
  10. Tippa Lee - Rasta Kitchen
  11. Sugar Massive - Never Felt This Way
  12. K Vibes - Bye Bye Rebel
  13. Al Campbell - Turn Me Loose
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

In the years '96 and '97 Coxsone Dodd released the albums "Current Artists At Studio One Vol. 1 & Vol. 2" on his own Studio One imprint. Newcomers and veteran artists laid down new tunes across classic but still great sounding original Studio One riddims. Now the Cambridge, Massachusetts U.S.A. based Heartbeat Records - a record company wich has an already fifteen years lasting partnership with C.S. Dodd that has resulted in the release of over 40 classic reggae albums - issues an album that copies that concept, thus making this actually the third "Current Artists" compilation set.
Unknown singer Alpheus delivers two lovers tunes. On the opening track of this album he makes a solid impression utilizing the riddim we know and love from The Lyrics' "Music like dirt" and Bob Andy's "Desperate lover". However, in his second effort - across the "Ting a ling" riddim from the Heptones - the singing sounds somewhat amateurish and certainly can't match his first song. With the excellent Coxsone Dodd produced album "Brother To Brother" Glen Washington - a superb singer and songwriter in the Beres Hammond mould - made his comeback and a name for himself last year and his two contributions on this compilation confirm he's completely back on the track. Some months ago Wages Of Sin was released as a 7" single and it already drew remarkable attention. It's a great cultural song delivered across the Silvertones' "Smile" riddim, one of the standouts on this compilation set. His other tune is a real fine lovers song, versioning the "Lecturer" riddim. Veteran Sugar Minott is the third artist in a row to present two cuts. No one is the best of his two efforts although Saving my love utilizing Ernest Wilson's "Undying love" riddim is a decent tune too . Sugar's other song is delivered across the Paragon's "Danger in your eyes" riddim. The so-called "Crownprince of Reggae" Dennis Brown fails to make any impression with his weak version on the Heptones' "Sweet talking" riddim, General Smiley has a nice deejay piece on Horace Andy's "Fever" riddim and singer Dana V (aka Donna V) comes up with a fine uplifting song with great lyrics on the rather unknown "My baby is gone" riddim from the Heptones. J.D. Smoothe is a stylist very much in the contemporary American soul groove who delivers a decent rendition of the Chi-Lites' Letter to myself on the "Party Time" riddim, already very popular when it appeared as a 7" single in the summer of '97. Tippa Lee has a truly wicked cultural deejay cut across the "Drum song" riddim, Sugar Massive already showcased his skill and talents on "Current Artists At Studio One Vol. 1" and here he does it once again. Unfortunately he doesn't succeed in making the same good impression as he did then. Newcomer K Vibes has a far better performance across Freddie McGregor's "Bobby Bobylon" riddim and is certainly an artist to keep in mind for in the future. Veteran singer Al Campbell versions Slim Smith's "Ill never let go" riddim in his inimitable style as he delivers the last song but certainly not the least.
Everything a reggae fan's heart desires is included on this set: roots 'n' culture, lovers & deejay tunes, solid timeless riddims and a crisp sound. So, if you wonder why Jamaican ace producers like Bobby "Digital" Dixon, Donovan Germain, Sly & Robbie and Phillip "Fatis" Burrell plunder the vaults of Studio One to find riddims for their latest hits check out the originator !

Teacher & Mr. T.