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Various - Freedom Sounds

  by Daniel Cressey

published: 13 / 8 / 2012

Various - Freedom Sounds
Label: Trojan Records
Format: CD Box


Fabulous five CD bset from reggae label Trojan Records, released to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of Jamaican independence

'Freedom Sounds' is a glorious celebration of the sound that emerged from Jamaica to conquer the world, released by the label that has, for many, defined reggae in the UK. Timed for the anniversary of Jamaican independence, this box set is – as you would expect – heavily oriented towards songs of freedom, or the desire for it. Over a hundred tracks are divided into five discs under the headings freedom sounds, Jamaican hits, pioneers, innovators, and forgotten pleasures. The allocation of tracks to discs is rather arbitrary at times, or at least confused by the overlap between categories. The stone-cold hit 'Love of the Common People' is on the Innovators disc while 'Rise Jamaica (Independence is Here)' is placed on 'Pioneers' rather than 'Freedom Sounds'. Still they had to divide them up somehow. And, frankly, Trojan could probably have released '100 tracks we picked at random' and it would still be better than 99.9% of the compilation albums released this year. Many will be familiar to people acquainted with reggae, and especially anyone who has owned any the classic Trojan Reggae Classics volumes. Alongside Desmond Dekker's '007 (Shanty Town)' and the Maytals '54 46 That’s My Number' is a smattering of slightly more modern numbers, such as 'Murder She Wrote' by Chaka Demus & Pliers. Forgotten pleasures is the equal of this innovators. It will may take a keen ear to spot the difference between the versions produced here of 'Let Your Yeah Be Yeah' and the oft-samples 'Chase the Devil' and previously the previous released songs. But this is a minor niggle with a collection that has not a bad track on it. Over the years – and thanks in part to Trojan – artists like Cornell Campbell, Prince Far I and Jimmy Cliff have become part of the musical background of the UK. 'Freedom Sounds' is a timely reminder that they and their music deserve to be seen as much, much more than that.

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