Various Studio One Sound

The long-running gold standard in scintillating collections of classic, top-shelf selections from the vaults of Jamaica's legendary Studio One, Soul Jazz has done it again with their latest in a long line of highly sought-after collected gems from the Caribbean island nation's musically formative golden era. Collecting a disparate array of late '60s and early '70s styles, running from dirty, eased back roots and smooth, yesteryear soul to springier ska and rocksteady, the Studio One Sound compilation lays down a little something for everyone, with a number of shiver-inducing drops slipped in for well-timed effect. The opening horn and bass combo of the Heptones' "Give Me Love" provides one such moment, as does Johnny Osbourne's "All I Have is Love," with its subtle organ, prancing bottom end, pleading vocal melody and grittiness. Ken Boothe's slinky "I Am A Fool" and the shuffling ska rhythms of Marcia Griffith's "Call To Me" add further touches of potent quality and stylistic diversity to the disc, though it's hard to go wrong with any of the tracks here. This is as yet another irrefutable affirmation of Studio One's trailblazing status. (Soul Jazz)