Trojan Selecta Vol. 3
Trojan Records
August 22, 2006

Track list
  1. Neither High Nor Dry - Pama International feat. Dennis Alcapone
  2. Channel One Feel It - King Tubby
  3. Kaya - Ronnie Davis
  4. Jungle Lion - Lee Perry
  5. Intensified (Music Like Dirt) - Desmond Dekker
  6. Entering The Dragon ((aka Blackbelt Jones) - Keith Hudson
  7. A Harder Version - Johnny Clarke
  8. Prisoner Of Love - Dave Barker
  9. Return Of The Bullet - Rico
  10. Escape From Hell - Tapper Zukie
  11. Mad Man Dub Wise - Lee Perry And Mad Professor
  12. Cool Rasta - The Heptones
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4 Sleeve : 3
At 4.99, you really can't go far wrong with this album -- Most of it is excellent, top notch roots dub and ska -- And not all of it is rehashed records we have heard endlessly, and there are some fresh tunes dug up for our listening pleasure.

The albums opens with the much hyped Pama International -- being honest, it is difficult to see the point of their music. It is well played, faithfully zeroxed revive ska -- but why? Enthusiastic and tight as they are, it is difficult to see what they bring to the genre. Still, their records will probably sell by the truckload.

Second up is the quite excellent resentful thug bass Rockers of "Wreck up my Life and I Don't like it" aka "Channel One Feel It," a heavy tune which has been versioned by Dennis Brown, Augustus Pablo et al. Bunny Lee has sold the rights to this one to quite a few labels, and it appears on numerous compilations, but it's intense nonetheless.

Ronnie Davis provides a take on Marley's "Kaya" which is competent-- but far from convincing or inspired -- Upsetter's "Jungle Lion" with its "shlock horror" Clint Eastwood style spoken intro, Dirty Dozen style horns dizzy sway, raw funk guitar slashes and JB's snare is far, far more impressive.

The hagiographic Hudson cult is not particularly well served here by the addition of "Entering The Dragon" which tiresomely reworks one of those reggae rhythms which surely has seen too much service over the years. Again, it makes all the right motions, but is unlikely to be considered a prime moment in the sometimes excellent and often quite unique Keith Hudson canon. Johnny Clarke's "A Harder Version" on the other hand, is apocalyptic heaviness, thundering bass lines and crashing, slashing Tubby's sound treatments. Pure hooligan threat, and not to be missed. Unmissable versions are also to be found on Tappa Zukie's delirious, high grade MPLA album as well as on the Clocktower/Brad Osbourne "Rockers Almighty" album.

"Return of the Bullet" is rudeboy jazz from Rico, and will please the followers of Headley Bennet, Dean Fraser et al. Next up is "Escape From Hell", drawn from a rare Tappa Zukie album Trojan will be releasing over the next few months in their fan club series. It is good, solid dub -- though you probably won't be bowled over by it. It doesn't contribute much new to the genre which we haven't heard countless times over the past thirty years. Having said that, it is sure to please the diehard Star label/Tubby's followers, since it represents that standard thunderous Rockers militancy, bass drum and snare aggression.

The album closes with The Heptones' radical yet deeply sedate and dignified meditation, "Cool Rasta", reminding the listener of a time when reggae truly had a disciplined and poetic message to communicate, both musically and lyrically.

All in all, an excellent compilation, admittedly with some unadventurous low points, but there are some towering classics here too -- If you don't have these tunes, it's advisable to grab a copy, especially at this fair price.