Duke Reid's Treasure Chest
This originally ran in the St. Louis Post Dispatch in 1992.
Duke Reid's Treasure Isle label in the Rock Steady era
of the late 60's produced some of Jamaica's all-time classic
recordings. This important release from Heartbeat records
chronicles some of this legendary producer's best work,
through 41 songs and almost 2 hours of vintage reggae.
The majority of tunes here are the original 45's, with
only a handful of alternate takes. From the opening track,
"We Are In The Mood" (take two) by the Royals, to the
closing one, "Moonlight Lover" by Joya Landis, the selection
here is excellent. Some personal highlights include the
extended version of Alton Ellis' "Cry Tough," "Love Is A
Treasure" by Freddie McKay, and the Sensations' "Everyday Is
A Holiday." There are also killers from U-Roy, The
Melodians, The Jamaicans, and The Paragons. In fact, The
Paragons' classic "The Tide Is High" (later covered and made
into a #1 hit by Blondie) is presented here and gives just
one example of the strength and brilliance of these timeless
This is a well done compilation, and is indeed a
"treasure chest" of classic, obscure recordings. Thankfully,
Heartbeat records continues to delve into the archives and
release this crucial material. This double CD is highly
recommended. Pick it up and get a good taste of what once
ruled the Jamaican airwaves.
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