Various Studio One Ska

For a quality reissue label like Soul Jazz, it's a little strange to be reissuing a disc with the generic title of Studio One Ska. There must be dozens of reissues of Studio One ska — does this purport to be the authority of them all? Not quite. As with all Soul Jazz selections, it's a good slice of what exists, but doesn't cover all the bases. The liner notes contain very little information that isn't common knowledge to those already passively familiar to the roots of ska. The tunes are a selection of artists you would expect from the label: the Wailers, the Maytals, Ken Boothe, Stranger Cole. They are mostly backed by the Skatalites, who are represented by songs under that famous moniker as well as their post-1965 splinter groups fronted by Jackie Mittoo, Tommy Mccook et al. If anything unifies this collection, it is the precision of the performances. Compared to much of the ska reissued by Trojan, mostly comprised of arch-rival Duke Reid's productions, this disc is fairly mannered, more pop-oriented than jazz/R&B honking in both production and feeling. There's nothing wrong with this collection, there are no real clunkers, but neither are there any rarities or roof raisers. This is not as critical as some of Soul Jazz's other reissues of Jamaican music. (Soul Jazz)