Various Hi Grade Ganja Anthems

There’s something about a tribute to the herb that makes all graphic sensibilities go south. Hi Grade Ganja Anthems’ neon green marijuana leaf is a particularly bad example, but forgivable due to its, uh, potency. Greensleeves has put out high grade to ditch weed releases since the mid-’70s. This comp might appear strictly disposable but it walks a fine line between not-quite-played-out classics, a couple of out of the way ’70s era twelve-inch releases and a broad spectrum of new sounds composing about half the album. Ganja compilations always hang together well and are usually made interesting by the range of topics applicable to the theme. From law enforcement issues to the munchies, some of the most vivid and descriptive lyrics ever to come out of Jamaica revolve around this evergreen subject. Production-wise, of course, deep, slow grooves highlight the early going, while the contemporary tracks display the continuing relevance of dub to today’s reggae production. The hidden gems are Tristan Palma’s "Joker Smoker,” a hilarious tribute to "Minnie the Moocher,” and "100 Weight Of Collie Weed” by Carlton Livingston. With a pure falsetto that evokes Cornell Campbell, smuggling herb and evading roadblocks never sounded so sweet. (Greensleeves)