Various Artists - Duke Reid International Disco Series – The Complet [Doctor Bird - 2021]
Duke Reid International Disco Series – The Complete Collection is a three-CD reggae compilation bringing together thirty-five tracks. The release appears on Doctor Bird, Cherry Reds reggae sub-label, and the collection offers up a good and varied selection of extended disco cuts of rock steady, dub and dancehall examples of the genre.
The three-CD set comes in the form of an eight-panel digipak- which takes in a dark brown, red, yellow, and white colour scheme, with a selection of 12inc record labels on its inside panels. Also included is a sixteen-page booklet- featuring a write-up about the collection, yet more 12inc record label pictures, and a few pictures of the projects featured here.
Arthur “Duke” Reid(1915-1975) was a Jamaican born and based DJ, record producer, and label owner of the famous Trojan Records. So, he was a key/important figure in both the development and the popularity of the reggae genre in general. The tracks featured here come from between the years 1977 and 1978, and all in all, it’s a decidedly varied & enjoyable collection.
The first disc takes in twelve tracks and sixty-nine minutes of music. A few standouts on this first disc come in the form of the surprisingly downbeat opener Alton Ellis’s “If I Could Rule This World” with its mournful wailing horn work, snaping ‘n’ reverbed lined percussion, and woeful male vocals. There’s the cheeky and jaunting “True True” by Ken Parker- with its strutting buoyant flow, swinging and high horn work, and at points, rising gospel touched singing. With the disc playing out jiving and grooving organ ‘n’ percussion of John Holt’s "Ali Baba", which is topped off with cool cat sing-song vocals.
The second disc takes in thirteen tracks, and seventy-four minutes of music. With highlights on this disc been the almost hip-hop horn-like sample loop of Alton Ellis “I Can’t Stand It” with some great echo on both the drums 'n' vocals, and a great MC breakdown. There’s the spiralling organ and spinning percussion of the wonderful entitled “Don’t Touch Me Tomato” by Phyllis Dillon- which features some great breakdowns and mini-organ jiving moments along its length. With the disc playing out with The Supersonics “Break Up Dub” with its thick farting bass drum purrs, stabbing disco kick drum hits, tingling cymbal work, and phasing in & out vocals.
Lastly, on disc number three, we have another thirteen tracks and seventy-one minutes of music. Some of the memorable moments here been the strolling ‘n’ bobbing strutt of Ken Parker “Cry Talk” with its blend of lower ‘n’ hash hazed vocals and sweeter/higher chorus singing. There’s the tight grooving organ and playful piano keys of Alton Ellis’s “ Remember That Sunday”, or the scrubbing rocksteady meets high/ warbling female back vocals of “Baba Boom Boom” by Carl Bryan & The Supersonics, which features a great stabbing and reverbed like phasers like breakdowns.
All in all, this is a rather wonderful 1970’s reggae compilation with some great, great cuts on it- and even the less stand out material is pretty damn good too. So if you enjoy 12inc disco reggae mixes, and all the creativity/ flair that comes along with those- are you going to be as happy as a pig in you know what with this three-disc set.