Reggae Golden Jubilee: Origins of Jamaican Music
There are lots of collections like this out there that attempt to chronicle the fascinating story of Jamaica's pop music, but what sets this four-disc, 100-track box apart is that the selections here, and much of the text and song notations (the discs come packaged as part of a book), were made by Edward Seaga. The former Prime Minister of Jamaica was a man who was as much interested in the cultural history of Jamaica as he was in its politics, and he was there when the skewed, defiant, joyous, and infectious rhythms of reggae swept Jamaica into the 20th century. He understood, even as a politician, that music was the island's greatest commercial commodity and export, even if the songs themselves were often harshly critical of the Jamaican government, and authority in general. Seaga's selections cover all the key bases, from ska through rocksteady to reggae and dancehall, and his comments and notes show he knows what he's talking about. He was there. He was Prime Minister. He also loved music and could see and hear the creative musical revolution going on in Jamaica everywhere he went. In the end, politics aside, he was a complete fan, and a bit of a historian. That shows here.