Various Treasure Isle Showtime

Treasure Isle was the counterpart to the more celebrated Studio One label in Jamaica during the '60s. While releasing many fine ska sides, the label really established its reputation with its rock steady material. The studio benefited from the dissolution of fundamental ska band the Skatalites by inheriting sax player Tommy McCook, whose new ensemble was dubbed the Supersonics. Together with label boss Duke Reid (and I mean boss, check the front cover of Duke with his omnipresent pistol) and a new studio, this new music was instantly classic. Treasure Isle Showtime continues Heartbeat's focus on putting together fantastic greatest hits collections, and while other reissue labels focus on the obscurities, there are a good dozen-and-a-half enduring songs and rhythms on display here. Songs like "On the Beach," "Wear You To The Ball," by the Paragons, and "Ali Baba," by John Holt, are great pop tunes by anyone's estimation, and their sound is captured better by the remastering than it was on previous reissues from ten years ago. The brilliance of this compilation is only heightened by the great pace throughout - judicious use of versions, plenty of momentum. This may be all old news to serious collectors of reggae and rock steady, but I defy any of them not to crack a smile and nod a head as this disc plays. Treasure Isle Showtime will keep you warm during the winter. (Heartbeat)