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David Rodigan/Various – Fabriclive 54

Veteran selector David Rodigan knows a thing or two about Jamaican music. After more than 30 years in the game, his passion for the small island’s proud sonic heritage is as strong today as it was back then, as anyone who has seen him DJ recently can testify. His sets are as informative as they are entertaining, and Rodigan’s ability to capture the audience through his stage presence and tune selection is awe inspiring. It’s no surprise then that he excels on the latest Fabriclive compilation.

Representing the full spectrum of Jamaican music from dub to dancehall, modern roots reggae to classics, Fabriclive 54 is just as likely to wow a newcomer as induce grins from a seasoned reggae lover. For anyone who isn’t aware of who Augustus Pablo or King Tubby are, the first track “King Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown” will certainly have them scouring both artist’s back catalogues for more dubbed out treasures. Legendary Deejay Big Youth’s signature style on “Waterhouse Rock” is a welcome addition to the already worthy riddim. Sicilian born but now residing in Jamaica, superstar artist Alborosie’s “Kingston Town” is a huge track that more than deserves its place, as does Etana’s Rootsy “August Town”. Romain Virgo’s voicing of “Live My Life” on the “Boops” riddim will certainly please fans of this classic.

Also featuring on this compilation, Super Cat’s “Don Dada” is a prime example of his adept delivery and style, while other dancehall classics featured on the mix include Pinchers “Bandolero”, Tenor Saw’s “Ring The Alarm” and the Bermudian artist Collie Buddz’s “Come Around”. Dub highlights include the deep and stripped down King Tubby classic “Roots Of Dub” and Joe Gibbs & Errol T’s “He Prayed”. Featuring other influential artists from past and present such as Prince Alla, Chezidek, Mr Vegas, Konshens, Beres Hammond and Sly & Robbie, Rodigan has done a stupendous job in representing a cross section of three decade’s worth of Jamaican music, but would we really expect any less?

Ben Daly