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Various Artists: The Best of the Best, Vol. 2

Album Notes

The second volume in this fine compilation series focuses on material from the Xterminator label, all of it overseen by dancehall maestro Phillip "Fatis" Burrell. Backing musicians include Sly & Robbie, the ace Firehouse Crew, and Dean Fraser, among others, and they provide top-notch digital rhythms for a shifting vocal cast that includes such stellar talent as Cocoa Tea, Tony Rebel, Buju Banton, and even a few old-school fixtures, including Freddie McGregor and the great Marcia Griffiths. Inevitably, not everyone is performing at a peak level: Banton is painfully off-key on "Yardy," and even the usually reliable Luciano is less than inspiring on his lackluster "Samfie Lover." But Griffiths is brilliant on the heartbroken "Cry No More," and the celebrated "Place Mash Up," a combination track featuring Sanchez and DJ Flourgon, shines like a jewel on this program. Best of all is " Almshouse," the single that basically built a new career for Capleton after his departure from Babylon's burning house of slackness. Recommended. ~ Rick Anderson


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