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 100 Songs from the Golden Age of Reggae

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LeeRain
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PostSubject: 100 Songs from the Golden Age of Reggae    Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:43 pm

I'm not including any music by Bob Marley, Peter Tosh or Bunny Wailer because the purpose of my list is to give thanks and praise to some of the musicians beyond the nexus of the original Wailers whom most reggae fans are already aquainted with.

From around 1975 until 1985 I was an avid collector of roots reggae, dancehall, dub and other reggae sub-genres like ska, rock steady and bluebeat. During that period I hosted a reggae music radio show in Boston and made several trips to Jamaica in which I'd filled an empty duffel bag with the lastest reggae 12" singles to play on my radio show.

I lost interest in contemporary Jamaican music in the mid-Eighies for several reasons:

  • The rise of the slackness deejay style marked the decline of socially conscious reggae music. The phonomenal success of Yellowman's profane and sexualized content of his toasting had a big influence on hip-hop artists like KRS One, Tupac and Notorious Mr. B.I.G., but Yellow's misogynistic themes were hard to take for someone like me, who also listened to agit-prop post punk groups like Au Pairs, the Bush Tetras and the Gang of Four. The slackness style eclipsed the conscious toasters like U-Roy, Big Youth and I-Roy.


  • The gunned up sleng-teng riddims coming out of Jamician dancehalls were replacing the off tempo, one drop drumset style which was the innovation of Carlton Barrett who defined the reggae drum riddim in the Upsetters (Barrett also played several years with the Wailers).


  • The final straw for me was the introduction and subsequent overuse of the ubiquitous Casio synthesizer by reggae producers which made nearly every reggae tune sound like the latest Flock of Seagulls single. It spelled the end of the organic sound of roots reggae and since then reggae lost it's musical compass. Reggae music producers over the past 20 years, have used the pulverize cycle on the Cusinart blender to make reggae music sound like generic, pop oriented Worldbeat music.


I have a digital collection of nearly 10,000 reggae songs from the golden era of the Seventies and Eighties. Of those songs I rated about 700 songs (about 7%) as five star (*****) and over the next few weeks I'm going to post about a hundred of those songs. The songs I post will be in no order of importance or quality because they all have significance to me as great musical statements.

All of these songs are available on You Tube and if you have a You Tube Downloader you can easily convert the YouTube flash videos into MP3 files to listen to on your digital jukebox or portable digital music player. YouTube Downloader - Software to download and convert YouTube video

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