Various Artists, Balearic Reggae

Barry Walters

By Barry Walters

on 07.26.12 in Reviews

Balearic Reggae

Various Artists

A defining feature of the Ibiza DJ-ing approach is individuality through diversity, so it makes sense that Balearic Reggae is not only of the broadest collections of Jamaican (and quasi-Jamaican) music you’ll hear, but also one of the most idiosyncratic. This is probably the only place where roots reggae, dub reggae, reggae-disco, reggae hip-hop, reggae trip-hop, a chart-topping reggae-ska smash and a Culture Club B-side all come together. As the inclusion of the Mighty Diamonds, Burning Spear, Culture and other purists attest, there are plenty of authentic island sounds — no Swedish reggae here. But Sly Dunbar, Peter Tosh and Keith Hudson all mix their grooves with angular funk to rump-shaking effect. As their song goes, one-hit-wonders Althea & Donna are “strictly roots,” but that didn’t stop this female teen duo from topping the UK pop chart in 1978 with an unpolished gem that unjustly flopped in the US, “Uptown Top Ranking.”