The Rough Guide to Reggae

Steve Barrow & Peter Dalton. Rough Guides/Penguin Books Ltd, 2nd edition 2001 (1st edition 1997). “This expanded and updated new edition of The Rough Guide to Reggae covers the entire span of recorded music in Jamaica, from 1950s mento and R&B to dancehall and raga, giving you the full story of ska, rocksteady, roots, dub, toasting, and lovers’ rock as well as reggae’s offshoots in Britain, the US, and Africa. Throughout, there are interviews and features on the major artists, and reviews of hundreds of discs – both on CD and vinyl.”

This is a list of the ‘essential’ titles marked with a star in the book. Due to the massive amount of compilations available, and new titles becoming available all the time, some of these would no longer be the ‘essential’ choice. However, the material covered by the discs listed here, would still be the same music. After the artist (V/A = Various Artists) and title the label and country of origin is given in brackets. Countries are abbreviated to, usually, the first two letters.*= LP only. The others are/were all either available on both CD and vinyl or just CD, at the time of this book anyway. I’ve sometimes given year of orig release too, but after follows present label and country of availability & the year is only when there are other albums of the same title and to avoid confusion. I’ve had to reorganise the order these titles appear in the book as I’m only using one level of sub-chapter here, there are far more in the book and it would have been needlessly confusing, (there are a lot more albums in the book, not all are ‘essential’).

The Beginnings: Mento to Ska

Jamaican Folk Traditions

o V/A – From the Grass Roots of Jamaica (Dynamic, JA)

The Birth of the Sound System

o Aitken, Laurel – Pioneer of Jamaican Music (Reggae Retro, UK)
o Count Ossie – A Rasta Reggae Legend (Moodisc, US)
o King Stitt – Dance Hall ’63 (Studio One, JA)*
o V/A – Sir Coxsone & Duke Reid in Concert at Forresters’ Hall (Studio One, US)

Ska Authentic

o Alphonso, Roland – Something Special: Ska Shots (Heartbeat, US)
o Drummond, Don – Best of (Studio One, JA)
o Lord Creator – Don’t Stay Out Late (VP Records/Randy’s, US)
o Maytals – Prince Buster Record Shack Presents the Original Golden Oldies Vol 3 (Prince Buster, JA, UK & US)*
o Skatalites – Foundation Ska (Heartbeat, US)
o Skatalites – Ska Authentic (1964, ND/Studio One, JA)
o Skatalites – Ska Authentic Volume 2 (1964, ND/Studio One, JA)*
o Skatalites – Ska Boo Da Ba (1966, Westside, UK)
o Skatalites & Friends – at Randy’s (VP Records, US)
o V/A – Club Ska ’67 (Mango, UK)
o V/A – Club Ska ’67 Volume 2 (WIRL, JA/UK)*
o V/A (Clement Dodd Productions) – Ska Bonanza: Studio One Years (Heartbeat, US)
o V/A (Top Deck Productions) – Ska Down Jamaica Way (Top Deck, UK)

Jamaican Jazz – a Brief Survey

o Ranglin, Ernest – Below the Bassline (Island Jamaica Jazz, UK)
o Ranglin, Ernest – Sounds & Power (Studio One, US)

Rude Boys & Rocksteady

o V/A – Catch This Beat (Island, UK)*

Rude-Boy Music

o Dekker, Desmond & the Aces – Action! (Late 60s, Esoldun, FR)
o Ellis, Alton – Cry Tough (incs: Mr Soul of Jamaica LP, Heartbeat, US)
o Tosh, Peter – The Toughest (Studio One material) (Heartbeat, US)

Get Ready, It’s Rocksteady – Duke Reid & Coxsone

o Andy, Bob – Song Book (Coxsone, JA)
o Boothe, Ken – A Man & His Hits (Studio One, JA)*
o Heptones – On Top (Studio One, JA)
o Kelly, Pat – Vintage Series (Treasure Isle material) (VP Records, US)
o Melodians – Swing & Dine (1960’s) (Heartbeat, US)
o Paragons – Golden Hits: The Great Treasure Isle Collection Vol 2 (Treasure Isle, FR)
o Techniques – Rock Steady Classics (Treasure Isle material) (Rhino, UK)
o Wilson, Delroy – Original Twelve: Best of (Coxsone, JA/Heartbeat, US)*
o V/A – Duke Reid’s Treasure Chest (Heartbeat, US)
o V/A – Mojo Rocksteady (Heartbeat, US) (3 versions of this but only one is a CD)

Catch This Beat: The New Producers

o Smith, Slim – Early Days (Total Sounds, JA)*
o V/A (Joe Gibbs Productions) – Joe Gibbs: Amalgamated Label, Explosive Rocksteady 1967 73 (Heartbeat, US)

Early Reggae

o V/A – Monkey Business (Trojan, UK)
o V/A – The Harder They Come: Soundtrack (Island, UK)

The Big Three in the Reggae Era

o Brooks, Cedric – Im Flash Forward (1977, Studio One, JA)*
o Burning Spear – Presenting (Studio One, JA)*
o Burning Spear – Rocking Time (Studio One, JA)*
o Ellis, Alton – Sunday Coming (Studio One, JA)
o Holt, John – Like a Bolt: Classic Rocksteady & Reggae (Westside/Demon, UK)
o Marshall, Larry – Presenting (Studio One, JA/Heartbeat, US)
o Mittoo, Jackie – Keyboard King at Studio One (Universal Sound/Soul Jazz, UK)
o Mittoo, Jackie – Tribute to… (Heartbeat, US)
o Wailing Souls – Wailing Souls (1st Album) (Studio One, JA)*

Promotions to the Premier League

o Brown, Dennis – Best of… (4th Album) (Joe Gibbs, JA)*
o Campbell, Cornell – Minstrel: Classic Reggae 1972-77 (Westside, UK)
o Ethiopians – Original Reggae Hit Sound (Trojan, UK)
o Maytals – Bla Bla Bla (1966-70) (Esoldun, FR)
o V/A (Clancy Eccles Productions) – Clancy Eccles Presents his Reggae Revue (Heartbeat, US)
o V/A (Harry Mudie Productions) – Let Me Tell You Boy (Trojan, UK)

New Producers Enter the Arena

o Hudson, Keith – Flesh of My Skin, Blood of My Blood (Mamba, UK)*
o V/A (Keith Hudson Productions) – Studio Kinda Cloudy (Trojan, UK)*
o V/A (Rupie Edwards Productions) – Pure Gold (Success, UK)*
o V/A (Winston Riley Productions) – Roots Techniques (Pressure Sounds, UK)

Wake the Town: How the DJ Came to Rule the Nation

o Big Youth – Screaming Target (Gussie, JA/Trojan, UK)
o Dennis Alcapone – My Voice is Insured for Half a Million Dollars (Trojan, UK)*
o U-Roy – Super Boss (Treasure Isle material) (Esoldun, FR)

Rebel Music & Rasta Chants

o Byles, Junior – Curly Locks: Best of… & the Upsetters 1970-76 (Heartbeat, US)
o Byles, Junior & Friends – 129 Beat Street: Ja-Man Special 1975-78 (Blood & Fire, UK)
o Marley, Bob & the Wailers – African Herbsman (Trojan, UK)
o V/A – Rebel Music (Trojan, UK)
o V/A (Lee Perry Productions) – Upsetter Collection (Trojan, UK)
o V/A (Winston Riley Productions) – Blood & Fire (Trojan, UK)*

Roots Reggae

o V/A – Classic Reggae: Definitive Revival Reggae Mastercuts Vol 1 (Mastercuts, UK)

Marley, Bob & the Wailers

o Marley, Bob & the Wailers - Legend (Tuff Gong, JA/Island, UK & US)
o Marley, Bob & the Wailers - Natural Mystic ((Tuff Gong, JA/Island, UK & US)
o Marley, Bob & the Wailers - Songs of Freedom (Box) (Tuff Gong, JA/Island, UK & US)
o Wailer, Bunny – Blackheart Man (Solomonic, JA/Island, UK)

UK Connection

o Black Uhuru – Showcase (Taxi, JA/Heartbeat, US)
o Burning Spear – Marcus Garvey (Fox, JA/Island, UK)
o Burning Spear – Social Living (Burning Spear, JA/Blood & Fire, UK)
o Gladiators – Trenchtown Mix Up (Virgin/EMI, UK)
o Ruby, Jack Presents the Black Foundation (Jack Ruby Productions) - Black Foundation in Dub (Heartbeat, US)

The Producer as Auteur

o Brown, Dennis – Visions (Joe Gibbs Record Globe, JA)
o Campbell, Cornell – I Shall Not Remove 1975-80 (Blood & Fire, UK)
o Clarke, Johnny – Don’t Trouble Trouble (Attack, UK)
o Clarke, Johnny – Dreader Dread 1976-78 (Blood & Fire, UK)
o Congos – Heart of the Congos (Blood & Fire, UK)
o Culture – Two Sevens Clash (Joe Gibbs Record Globe, JA/Lightning, UK)
o Mighty Diamonds – When the Right Time Come/I Need a Roof (Well Charge, JA/Virgin, UK/Channel One, US)
o Miller, Jacob – Who Say Jah No Dread (Greensleeves, UK)
o Pablo, Augustus – El Rockers (Pressure Sounds, UK)
o Pablo, Augustus – Original Rockers (Rockers Int, JA/Greensleeves, UK)
o U Roy – Right Time Rockers (1976) (Soundsystem, US)
o Walker, Sylford & Welton Irie – Lamb’s Bread International (Blood & Fire, UK)
o Yabby You – Jesus Dread 1972-77 (Blood & Fire, UK)
o V/A (Augustus Pablo Productions) – Classic Rockers 2 (Mango Reggae Refreshers, UK)
o V/A (Bunny Lee Productions) – If Deejay Was Your Trade (Blood & Fire, UK)
o V/A (Lee Perry Productions) – Build the Ark (Trojan, UK)
o V/A (Lee Perry Productions) – Open the Gate (Trojan, UK)
o V/A (Winston Riley Productions) – Observation Station (Heartbeat, US)

Nyahbingi Music

o Count Ossie & the Mystic Revelation of Rastafari – Grounation (MRR, JA/Ashanti, UK)

The Small Axes

o Abyssinians – Satta Massa Gana (Heartbeat, US)
o Royals – Pick Up the Pieces (Wambesi, JA/Magnum, UK)
o Wailing Souls – Wild Suspense (Massive, JA/Mango Reggae Refreshers, UK)

Cultural Toasters

o Big Youth – Everyday Skank: Best of (Trojan, UK)*
o Doctor Alimantado – Best Dressed Chicken in Town (Greensleeves, UK/RAS, US)
o Prince Alla – Heaven is My Roof (Tappa, JA)*
o U Roy – Don’t Check Me with No Lightweight Stuff 1972-75 (Blood & Fire, UK)

The Mainstream

o Andy, Horace – Good Vibes (Blood & Fire, UK)
o Andy, Horace – In the Light/In the Light Dub (Blood & Fire, UK)
o Brown, Dennis – Open the Gate: Greatest Hits Vol 2 (Heartbeat, US)
o Brown, Dennis – Some Like it Hot: Greatest Hits Vol 1 (Heartbeat, US)
o Higgs, Joe – Life of Contradiction (1975, Micron, JA/Esoldun, FR)
o Isaacs, Gregory – Soon Forward (African Museum, JA/Virgin, UK)*
o Romeo, Max – Open the Iron Gate 1973-77 (Blood & Fire, UK)
o Wilson, Delroy – Sarge (LTD, JA/Charmers, UK)

Roots Harmonies

o Israel Vibration – Same Song (Top Ranking, JA/Pressure Sounds, UK)

Some Reflective Rastamen

o Fred Locks – Black Star Liners (Jahmukmusik, JA/Vulcan, UK)
o Hinds, Justin & the Dominoes – Travel with Love (1984, Nighthawk, US)
o Little Roy (w. Ian Rock & the Heptones) – Tafari Earth Uprising (Pressure Sounds, UK)
o Moses, Pablo – Revolutionary Dream (Jigsaw, JA/Tropical Sound Trace, UK)*


o Various Producers – Rodigan’s Dub Classics: Serious Selections Vol 1, Mixed by King Tubby, Prince Jammy & Scientist (Grapevine, UK)

Dubwise Shower

o Dodd, Clement (Productions) – Dub Store Special (Studio One, JA)*
o Gibbs Joe & Errol Thompson (Productions) – African Dub Almighty Chapters 1-4 (Joe Gibbs Record Globe & Rocky One, JA)*
o Holness, Winston ‘Niney’ (Productions) – Dubbing with the Observer (Observer, JA/Attack, UK)*
o Hookim, Joseph ‘Joe Joe’ (Productions) – Vital Dub Strictly Rockers (Well Charge, JA & US/Virgin, UK)*
o Hudson, Keith (Productions) – Pick a Dub (Blood & Fire, UK)
o Jackson, Vivian (Productions) – King Tubby’s Prophecy of Dub (Blood & Fire, UK)
o Lee, Bunny (Productions) – Dub Gone 2 Crazy: In Fine Style 1975-1979 (Blood & Fire, UK)
o Lee, Bunny (Productions) – Dub Gone Crazy: Evolution of Dub at King Tubby’s 1975-1979 (Blood & Fire, UK)
o Pablo, Augustus (Productions) – King Tubby’s Meets Rockers Uptown (Yard, JA/Clocktower, US)
o Perry, Lee (Productions) – Blackboard Jungle Dub (Upsetter, JA)*
o Perry, Lee (Productions) – Super Ape (Upsetter, JA/Island, UK)

Dub Explosion

o Mudie, Harry (Productions) – Meets King Tubby’s in Dub Conference Vols 1-3 (Moodisc, JA/Moods, US)
o Rodney, Winston (Productions) – Living Dub Vols 1 & 2 (Burning Spear, JA)*

Dubbing into the 1980s

o Brown, Glen (Productions) - & King Tubby: Termination Dub 1973-79 (Blood & Fire, UK)
o Thompson, Linval (Productions) – Scientist Encounters Pac Man (Greensleeves, UK)
o Thompson, Linval (Productions) – Scientist Meets the Space Invaders (Greensleeves, UK)


o V/A – Forward: a Selection of Greensleeves Top Singles 1977-82 (Greensleeves, UK)

Roots Tradition, the Roots Radics & Barrington Levy

o Isaacs, Gregory – Lonely Lover (African Museum, JA/Pre, UK)
o Levy, Barrington – Collection (Greensleeves & Time One, UK)
Deejay Dominance

o Lone Ranger – M16 (J&L, US)*
o V/A – A Deejay Explosion Inna Dance Hall Style (Heartbeat, US)

Dance Pon the Riddim

o McGregor, Freddie – Bobby Babylon (Studio One, JA/Heartbeat, US)
o Minott, Sugar – Live Loving (Studio One, JA/Heartbeat, US)
o Osbourne, Johnny – Truths & Rights (Studio One, JA/Heartbeat, US)
o V/A (Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd Productions) – Showcase Vol 1 (Heartbeat, US)

Henry ‘Junjo’ Lawes Rules the Dancehall

o Wailing Souls – Fire House Rock (Volcano, JA/Greensleeves, UK)

Prince Jammy

o Half Pint – Monkey Man Skank (Jammy’s, JA)*
o V/A (Prince Jammy Productions) – Prince Jammy: A Man & His Music Vol 3, Hits Style (RAS, US)

Sugar Minott

o Minott, Sugar – Black Roots (Black Roots, JA/Mango, US)

Sly & Robbie

o Brown, Dennis – Brown Sugar (Taxi singles comp) (Taxi, JA)
o Kamoze, Ini – Ini Kamoze (Island, JA)*

Worries in the Dance: More Producers Join the Crowd

o McGregor, Freddie – Big Ship (Thompson Sound, JA/Greensleeves, UK)
o Mighty Diamonds – Changes (Music Works, JA)*


One Rhythm Albums

o Kelly, Dave ‘Rude Boy’ (Productions) – Arabian Jam (Mad House, JA & UK)
o Kelly, Dave ‘Rude Boy’ (Productions) – Pepper Seed Jam! (Mad House, UK)

King Jammy

o Frazer, Dean – Big Bad Sax (Jammy’s, JA/Super Power, UK)*
o Gibbons, Leroy – Four Seasons Lover (Jammy’s, JA/Super Power, UK)
o King Jammy (Productions) - Prince Jammy: A Man & His Music Vol 2, Computer Style (RAS, US)
o Lieutenant Stitchie – Wear Yu Size [Great Ambition] (Jammy’s, JA/Super Power, UK)*
o Nitty Gritty – Trials & Crosses: Tribute to… (VP Records, US)

King Tubby

o King Tubby (Productions) – Presents Soundclash Dubplate Style (Taurus, JA & UK)*

Gussie Clarke

o V/A (Gussie Clarke Productions) – Hardcore Reggae (Greensleeves, UK)

Jammy’s Employees Go It Alone

o McGregor, Freddie – Now (Steely & Clevie, JA)
o Steely and Clevie (Productions) – Play Studio One Vintage (Steely and Clevie, JA/Heartbeat, US)

Ragga Sing a Hit Song

o Cocoa Tea – Come Love Me (VP Records, US)
o Griffiths, Marcia – Indomitable (1993, Penthouse, JA & US)
o Hammond, Beres – A Love Affair (Penthouse, JA & US)
o Paul, Frankie – Sara (Jammy’s, JA/Live and Love, UK)

Deejay Confrontation

o Banton, Buju – ‘Til Shiloh (Penthouse, JA/Loose Cannon, UK)
o Bounty Killer – My Xperience (VP Records, US)
o Capleton – Prophecy (Def Jam & Ral & African Star, US)
o Ninjaman – Bounty Hunter (Digital B, JA/Blue Mountain, UK)
o Shabba Ranks – Golden Touch (Two Friends, JA/Greensleeves, UK)

Rasta Renaissance

o Bushman – Total Commitment (King Jammy’s, JA/Greensleeves, UK)
o Garnett Silk – Gold (Charm, UK)
o General, Mikey – Spiritual Revolution (Qabalah, JA/Redbridge, UK/VP Records, US)
o Heritage, Morgan – Protect Us Jah (VP Records & Brickwall, US)
o Jahmali – El Shaddai (Germain, JA/US)
o Luciano – Where There is Life (Xterminator, JA/Island Jamaica, UK)
o Rose, Michael – Sly & Robbie Present the Taxi Sessions (Taxi, UK)*
o Tony Rebel – If Jah (VP Records, US)
o V/A (Bobby Digital Productions) – Digital B Presents Kette Drum (Digital B, JA)
o V/A (Sky High Productions) – Sky High & Mau Mau Present Marcus Garvey Chant (Sky, High, JA)

Bobo Dread Deejays, Chanters & Singers

o Anthony B – Real Revolutionary (Star Trail, JA/Greensleeves, UK)
o Capleton – More Fire (1999-00 comp) (VP Records, US)
o Sizzla – Black Woman & Child (Greensleeves, UK/Brisk Wall, US)
o Sizzla – Bobo Ashanti (Xterminator, JA/Greensleeves, UK)

Reggae in Britain

Roots, Rock, Reggae, UK Style

o Steel Pulse – Handsworth Revolution (Island, UK)
o V/A – Don’t Call Us Immigrants (Pressure Sounds, UK)

Lovers Rock

o Barry Boom – Living Boom (Fine Style, UK)
o Davis, Janet Lee – Missing You (Fashion, UK)
o Hunnigale, Peter – Reggae Max (Jet Star, UK)
o Kay, Janet – Ultimate Collection (Arawak, UK)
o Mafia, Leroy – Finders Keepers (Mafia and Fluxy, UK)
o V/A – Lovers Rock: Serious Selections Vols 1-3 (Rewind Selecta, UK)
o V/A (Fashion Productions) – Lovers Fashion Vols 1 & 2 (Fashion, UK)

From Deejays to Ragga

o Levy, General – Wickedness Increase (Ffrr, UK)
o Macka B – Sign of the Times (Ariwa, UK)
o Maxi Priest – Bonafide (Ten, UK/RAS, US)
o Top Cat – 9 Lives of the Cat (9 Lives, UK)
o Top Cat – Cat O’ Nine Tales (9 Lives, UK)
o V/A (Saxon Productions) – Saxon Studio Presents Dance Hall Specials Vol 1 (Saxon, UK)

Roots Revival

o Banton, Starky – Powers Youth (Fashion, UK)
o Brown, Leroy – Rhyme & Reason (Saxon, UK)

Reggae in the USA

US Reggae Takes Root

o Andy, Horace – Dance Hall Style (Wackie’s, US)

NY Dancehall & Ragga

o Red Fox – As a Matter of Fox (Elektra, JA/US)
o Shinehead – Rough & Rugged (African Love, US)*
o Shinehead – Troddin’ (Elektra, US)
o Washington, Glen – Brother to Brother (Studio One, US)
o Washington, Glen – Wandering Stranger (Studio One, US)

Note: US = United States; UK = United Kingdom; Fr = France; JA = Jamaica