Various Cult Cargo: Grand Bahama Goombay

The Numero group has never put out a bad collection, but this one is less stellar than most. The story of the Bahamas music industry is surely one that deserves to be told, but the music itself, while uniformly good, rarely reaches the level of "lost classics,” which is so often the case with most other Numero comps. Most interesting are the locally spiced tracks by the Mustangs, taking off from where Byron Lee’s uptown reggae sound left off. Another winner is the off-key but super-funky children’s song "Don’t Touch That Thing” by Sylvia Hall. There are some excellent vocalists, namely the Otis Redding-influenced Jay Mitchell, but some cards are played once too often. Mitchell gets a full five of the album’s 16 tracks, while studio owner Frank Penn’s "Gimme Some Skin” is represented with vocal and unnecessary instrumental versions. As always, the notes, interviews and photos are well worth it, and this would make an important entry in the Bahamian museum of culture, but there are better collections in the Numero catalogue. (The Numero Group)