14 11 2007

The Abyssinians

By Derek Beres

Satta Masagana [Deluxe Edition] (Heartbeat)
As record labels scatter and scrimp to survive via publishing rights, this classic album of the reggae pantheon truly stands the test of time. The three-part harmonies of Bernard Collins, Donald Manning and Lynford Manning helped defined what “classic” reggae was in the first place. The accompanying musicians, including Robbie Shakespeare and Horsemouth Wallace, provide a lesson in Jamaican folklore. While the title track became biblical in the Rasta world—a dreamlike ode to the roots of black spirituality—there is plenty here to reminisce and recline to. The two previously unreleased extended mixes of “Abendigo” and “Poor Jason Whyte” are nice collector’s items, but truly unnecessary. The original always was, and will remain, enough to keep any sane mind occupied for hours.

Another Dance: Rarities From Studio One (Heartbeat)
If you’ve ever stepped foot into the Bob Marley Archives, you’d quickly know there is plenty of unreleased material and rare outtakes awaiting public ears. Archivist Roger Steffens contributes liner notes and, most likely, creative direction on these eighteen cuts, originally recorded for Clement Dodd between 1964-66. It’s rough, analog and gorgeous, if only because you know where Nesta was headed. This is Bob in his ska-soul days, with plenty of soloing horns and (original) dancehall rhythms. Hearing prime cuts that would never be re-recorded for Island, such as the vibrant “Ska Jerk,” and original templates of “One Love” and “Cry to Me,” make this a more-than-worthwhile investment.



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