Out of Many

Out of Many

Out of Many

50 Years of Reggae Music

VP Records

Jamaica has such a rich musical history that any attempt to sum up or categorize the island’s music seems like a staggering task. However, VP Records has completed the Herculean chore and produced Out of Many: 50 Years of Reggae Music, a three disc set of Jamaican music, ranging from calypso to dancehall and just about every musical style in between.

The music is arranged chronologically starting with 1962’s calypso hit “Independent Jamaica” by Lord Creator, ending with Peetah Morgan and Hollie Cook’s 2012 version. Each year gets a song, which considering the decade between the mid ’60s and mid ’70s created enough music to support several reissue labels just on their own, the act of narrowing down one song for a particular year must have been daunting indeed.

The first disc is a thorough trip up to 1980, hitting many of the different styles from ska, calypso and roots reggae while avoiding many of the names familiar to general audiences — you’re not going to get Bob Marley or Jimmy Cliff but you will get Augustus Pablo, Dennis Brown, and the Skatalites. Two of the opening songs, “Blow Roland Blow” and “Malcolm X” featuring Roland Alphonso and the Skatalites, preview the future of Jamaican music, as these would influence and play on countless Jamaican hits.

The song selection, while not hipsterly obscure, might not be familiar to a general audience, with the possible exception of Culture’s “Two Sevens Clash.” Of course, there are many songs here that should be better known, including Dennis Brown’s “Westbound Train” with its lifting of Al Green’s “Love and Happiness” guitar lick or Augustus Pablo’s haunting “Java.”

The second disc takes us up to 1996, covering a large period of music that doesn’t get a lot of love from the reissue labels. Of special note is Wayne Smith’s 1985 “Under Me Sleng Teng,” the first completely computerized Jamaican song which would have a profound influence on the country’s music from there on out. Interestingly, there is a high ratio of female artists throughout the entire collection, especially on this disc, including Lady Saw’s 1996 “Give Me the Reason,” a tune harking back to the Lover’s Rock era, and Krystal’s teaming up with Shabba Ranks on “Twice My Age,” her floating vocals contrasting nicely with his hyper-fast toasts.

The final disc takes us up to today with a great selection from the last decade or so of Jamaica’s music. Heavy hitters like Elephant Man, Sean Paul, and Beenie Man along with some nods to the past like Gyptian’s “Hold You” and Yellowman’s remix of his 1983 hit “Zungguzungguguzungguzeng” and Peetah Morgan and Hollie Cook’s 2012 “Independent Jamaica” remix, suggesting the country’s constant recycling, remaking, and updating of their rich musical heritage.

For those looking for a good intermediate sampling of a country’s incredibly rich and diverse musical history, or are just looking to fill in musical gaps in certain years or decades, “Out of Many” will be a valuable compilation. Sure, you won’t get “007 (Shanty Town)” or “Rudy, A Message to You,” but for a good primer on Jamaica’s musical history, Out of Many is hard to beat.

VP Records: vprecords.comwww.vpreggae.com

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply

Recently on Ink 19...

  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band
    Preservation Hall Jazz Band

    So It Is (Legacy). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017
    From Montenegro to Moldova: The Best of SEEFest 2017

    For the twelfth year, the South East European Film Festival (SEEfest) in Los Angeles showcased an impressive lineup of new features and shorts. Lily and Generoso Fierro provide a festival wrap up and their picks for the films that you cannot miss.

  • Justin Townes Earle
    Justin Townes Earle

    Kids In The Street (New West Records). Review by James Mann.

  • Christian Scott
    Christian Scott

    Rebel Ruler (Ropeadope / Stretch Music). Review by Bob Pomeroy.

  • Kivanç Sezer
    Kivanç Sezer

    Turkish director Kivanç Sezer’s powerful debut feature, My Father’s Wings, puts the spotlight on the workplace safety crisis that is currently taking place in his homeland. Lily and Generoso Fierro spoke with Sezer at SEEFest 2017 about his film and his need to draw attention to this issue.

  • Temples
    Temples

    Supporting their just-released sophomore record, UK synth-pop poster boys, Temples, attracted an SRO crowd to one of Orlando’s premier nightspots.

  • Rat Film
    Rat Film

    Baltimore. Rats. A match made in Maryland.

  • Bishop Briggs
    Bishop Briggs

    Bishop Briggs brings a stacked bill of up and comers to Orlando for a sold-out party at The Social. Jen Cray joins in the fun.

  • Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World
    Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World

    There’s more than black music influencing the evolution of Rock and Roll. Native American rhymes and ideas are every bit as significant, once you know to look for them.

  • Keith Morris
    Keith Morris

    Ink 19 slings a few questions to the punk rock pioneer Keith Morris on Trump, Calexit and looking back.

From the Archives