From Dubplate to Download cover

From Dubplate to Download – The Best of Greensleeves Records is a two CD compilation demonstrating just how closely Greensleeves has been associated with the evolution of reggae.  Established initially as a record store in London then developing into a label in 1977, Greensleeves has consistently been at the forefront of bringing Jamaican music to a wider audience.

Formed by Chris Cracknell and Chris Sedgwick, Greensleeves has, along with now-parent company VP, been the avenue for quality reggae music over the last thirty years. Top producers such as Henry ‘Junjo’ Lawes, Prince Jammy, Gussie Clarke and Bobby Digital have without fail worked with Greensleeves to see their releases gain exposure on the international stage. As a result, Greensleeves’ vaults exist as a near definition picture of reggae over thirty years.

The track listing reads as a veritable hit chart of reggae for the last thirty years, including tunes such as Eek-A-Mouse’s Wa-Do-Dem, Wayne Smith’s Under Me Sleng Teng and Beenie Man’s Who Am I. At first glance this might not be one for the collectors, all the tunes presented here are well known, and for good reason. Still, the packaging and presentation is outstanding with lovely label images and a booklet giving the history of each tune. In a sense you’re picking up a history book, a reggae artefact rather a mere compilation.

The set is composed chronologically, beginning with early Greensleeves releases and gradually moving up to the year 2006. Every period of reggae is reflected here, late ’70s roots, early ’80s dancehall, the hard-edged digital style of Gussie Clarke, the roots revival of the ’90s and today’s bashment.

Every tune is a shining example of the period and style it represents. Without wanting to sound cliche, the compilation makes a fine effort of reflecting the journey that is reggae music. Perhaps this release is the ideal gift to someone showing an inkling of interest in reggae who you’d like to expose to the wider nature of reggae, whilst ensuring all tunes are first rate.

If you’re simply looking for a ram CD full of quality reggae it’s hard to not recommend From Dubplate To Download, and if you’re a seasoned listener this could be a nice little piece to add to your collection given the out of the ordinary packaging.