This 150-minute, two-disc set is one of the best overviews of classic reggae available. Volume 1 focused on ska and rock steady tracks from the 1960s, and this one consists primarily of material from the '70s and '80s, reggae's classic period. Though Trojan has a reputation for mediocre production quality and shady business dealings with its artists, the sound on these two discs is consistently quite good (and the company does attempt, though not entirely convincingly, to defend itself against its critics in the extensive liner notes). The 48 songs that make up this collection cover the whole range of classic reggae, from the sing-jay stylings of Big Youth ("S90 Skank") to Gregory Isaacs at his lonely best ("Loving Pauper") and the stentorian pronouncements of the immortal Prince Far I ("Under Heavy Manners"). The material is divided about equally between cultural and romantic tunes and steers clear of beat-heavy dancehall, which will please some and disappoint others. There is the occasional misstep -- John Holt's yucky version of "Help Me Make It Through the Night" is completely unnecessary, and Cornel Campbell's fine cover of "Duke of Earl" is unfortunately followed up by an ersatz dub version (it's really just an instrumental with sax solo). Overall, though, this set is excellent and cannot be recommended too strongly, especially as an introduction for newcomers to reggae.