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REVIEW: SKA RARITIES – TREASURE ISLE

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SKA RARITIES: TREASURE ISLE

(Trojan)

Epically strong collection highlighting the founding fathers of ska.

★★★★★

This 3 CD set with 86 tracks in total includes Duke Reid, Stranger Cole, The Zodiacs, Basil Caral and Derrick Morgan among many others. It comes beautifully packaged in a bright 10-page booklet giving you an insight into ska history in words and rare photos taken as far back as the ‘50s. Including one of Duke Reid with Fats Domino! This collection of first wave ska is unbelievably strong. These founding father artists started it all, without them we’d have no reggae, no two tone, it doesn’t bare thinking about! Characterised by upbeat bouncing tunes with sting in the tail lyrics of poverty and hardship, the ska movement is an essential art form of expression and has endured the test of time, with young ska bands still forming today. This collection is bolstered by 64 incredibly rare and unreleased bonus tracks, all recorded for Duke Reid’s legendary Treasure Isle catalogue between 1964 and 1966.

The album starts with a good moral message on ‘Practice What You Preach’ by Owen & Leon, and gets hot with ‘Temperature’ by Eric Monty Morris (Skatalites original singer). These early tracks reveal a lyrical freedom, an insight into the true thoughts of black people in the ‘50s. They sing in their beautiful Jamaican accents and talk about the reality and hardship of their lives as well as being cheeky enough to talk about sexual desires and calling out people they hated. It’s a historical insight into humanity, laughs, love, anger, sadness, all sugared up with a dancing beat. Listen closely.

Paula Frost

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