Hot Around The Collar

An ensemble of vintage reggae tracks.

Sixteen reggae tracks spanning two decades - from the seventies to the nineties - make up this album.

The selection captures the Afro-Caribbean flavour. Almost all the tracks are marked with an easy, relaxed drumbeat, the occasional trumpet and the pronounced accent of the reggae singer - rounded, thick, nasal syllables.

Aswad's "Don't Turn Around", recently sung by Ace of Base, and "Set Them Free" (released 1998), that talk about apartheid in South Africa in bold tones, are both easy on the ears.

"The Harder They Come" by Jimmy Cliff sings of freedom in a catchy rhythm. "Twist And Shout" by Chaka Demus and Pliers with Jack Radics and Taxis Gang is the reggae party song complete with inbuilt whoops and yelps. "I And I Survive" by Burning Spear starts off as an instrumental and has lyrics flow in as an afterthought while in "Sponji Reggae" by Black Uhuru, the lyrics fade out in the last five minutes of the song, treating the listener to an undisturbed reggae rhythm. "Take Me Home Country Roads" by Toot and The Maytals fuses reggae and country music nicely.

In the lyrics of Steel Pulse, for those who feel that "Reggae gets (them) ho' around the colla'", this album, with its fair ensemble of vintage reggae tracks is worth a shot.

This article was first published on 31 Oct 2000.