Various Tree Of Satta Volume 1

Jamaica is responsible for the musical innovations of dub and MCing, but one innovation has never crossed over to other nations: the one-rhythm album. Versioning a rhythm was born both of budgetary constraints (why not just cut a vocalist instead of a whole band?) and exploitative producers syndicating their output, but over the years certain rhythms have become the very bedrock of Jamaican music. Play one of these rhythms in a dance and watch the room explode. One of the most versioned of all — 450 and counting — is the Abyssinians 1969 classic "Satta Massa Gana.” Each of the 20 versions included here is a different essay on the song. Some vocalists bring biblical perspectives to the song, while instrumentalists explore the possibilities within one of the first and best reggae tunes in a minor key. There are no "slack" versions — all the contributions are impassioned and culturally focused. This album also marks B and F's first use of contemporary vocalists, and what a line-up! To hear the likes of Luciano, Sizzla and Capleton singing over 35-year-old backing tapes is simply breathtaking. You may only be able to appreciate this album in small doses, but the achievement of uniting young and old with the power of this evergreen message makes for one of the compilations of the year. (Blood and Fire)