Out of Many: 50 Years of Reggae, a three-CD tribute to Jamaica's 50th year of independence, was released locally Tuesday by VP Records.
It contains 50 Jamaican songs administrators at the Queens, New York reggae label believe have made the most impact since 1962 when the country gained sovereign status from Britain, to the present.
Independent Jamaica, a song written 50 years ago for the historic occasion, kicks off the set. Performed by Trinidadian Lord Creator, the song was produced by VP founder, Vincent 'Randy' Chin.
Other songs on disc one are singer Hopeton Lewis' Take It Easy, the first rock steady song, which was done in 1966; the 1967 Festival Song winner Ba Ba Boom by The Jamaicans; the exotic instrumental, Java, by Augustus Pablo, which was released in 1972; and Culture's Two Sevens Clash which created a stir in 1977.
'Out of Many' covers the evolution of Jamaican popular music. Each disc contains ska, rock steady, roots-reggae and dancehall songs.
The dancehall genre, which VP has championed for over 20 years, is well-represented. Wah Do Dem (Eek A Mouse), Under Mi Sleng Teng (Wayne Smith), Mr Loverman (Shabba Ranks), Rumours (Gregory Isaacs), Cant Stop a Man (Beres Hammond), Who Am I (Beenie Man), Get Busy (Sean Paul) and Hold You by Gyptian are some of the dancehall hits on 'Out of Many'.
The album has got the thumbs-up from the respected Spin magazine which stated in its review:
"All the music here was made to pull you onto the dancefloor, but if you slow down and listen with an open mind, it's also an education in the complex, layered history of a nation, a record label and a family."
The CD is available at MegaMart.