2007 (VP Records/Hardwax)

Reggae Summer Hits is part of Australian record label, Hardwax’s (in collaboration with VP Records), seven part collection of Jamaican music spanning ska, roots, lovers, dub, one drop and dancehall.

The selection kicks off with Shabba Ranks’ massive tune Twice My Age, on the riddim of the same name, released in 1988.  Both tune and riddim are dancehall classics in their own rite – most recently the riddim was released under the name Twice Again in 2006, updated as a bashment riddim by Steely and Cleevie.

Following, is a selection of reggae dancehall staples and arguably some of the most recognised reggae dancehall tunes. Tenor Saw’s seminal hit Ring the Alarm was released in 1985, at the beginning of the digital dancehall age. The song features one of the most remixed and re-used riddims of all time the Stalag 17 riddim, (check Sister Nancy’s Bam Bam for another version).

Another highly remixed riddim/tune, Under Mi Sleng Teng, also features. With over 180 versions existing, Sleng Teng is regarded by many as the very first fully digital riddim, and was also released in 1985, by King Jammy.

With the incredibly infectious A Who She Me Done by Cutty Ranks, the selection turns to the nineties dancehall sound – the perfect sound for summer. Heads High by Mr Vegas has long been a surefire dancefloor hit, with one of the catchiest choruses you will ever hear.

Beenie Man, deservedly, has two tracks on the compilation – Romie and Who am I. The latter being one of the biggest tunes on the Playground riddim in 1998. Another huge tune on the Playground riddim is also featured – Sean Paul’s Infiltrate.

While I agree that Beenie Man deserves two tracks on the album I would have liked to see a Bounty Killer or Capleton tune, rather than a second Sean Paul track.

Sticking to more well known tunes, Hardwax Records have included Mr Loverman by Shabba Ranks, a U.K. number three hit in 1993, shortly before Shabba’s comments on a popular T.V. chat show regarding homosexuals put his U.K. career in serious jeopardy.

The compilation is rounded off with a couple of reggae tunes, one of the biggest reggae hits of 2005 – Footprints by T.O.K. on one of the biggest reggae riddims in recent years – Drop Leaf by producer Don Corleon, and Sizzla’s Just One of Those Days.

This C.D. is an excellent introduction to dancehall music for the uninitiated, or just a great compilation of classic tunes for any fan of reggae dancehall.

Al Good