David Rodigan - Masterpiece

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  • The latest Masterpiece from Ministry Of Sound is a three-CD compilation that basically tells the story of David Rodigan's life in music. If you know anything about Roddy, you've probably already guessed that this is worth your time. Rodigan is one of the greatest-ever reggae selectors. He's been challenging and beating the world's best reggae DJs in sound clashes since the '80s. Legendary Jamaican selectors such as Barry G and Bass Odyssey have been slain by his unparalleled collection of dubplates. He even won the World Cup Clash in 2012. If that wasn't enough, he's also a hugely respected broadcaster. He's been playing reggae on the radio since the '70s, earned an MBE for "services to broadcasting" and was inducted into the Sony Radio Academy Hall Of Fame. He's worked with almost every major reggae star in history—if I had to pick a highlight, it would be the time he interviewed Bob Marley on his Capital Radio show, then aired the world exclusive of "Could You Be Loved." Put simply, the man's a don. Given Rodigan's inextricable link with the West Indies, it's surprising to hear Masterpiece kick off with classic rock and soul records. The Yardbirds, Kinks and Marvin Gaye all reflect his years as a teenage mod in the late '60s. There's even the oddball instrumental rock of "Telstar," a favorite of both DJ Harvey and Margret Thatcher. It's only late in the first disc that expected service starts with early ska from Justin Hinds And The Dominoes. From there comes a selection of wonderful Jamaican music that covers just about the genre's entire narrative. Naturally, there are classics from the likes of Desmond Decker, Bob Marley and Augustus Pablo, but also newer tracks from Busy Signal and Riva Starr. The best stuff on Masterpiece is the conscious reggae from The Abyssinians and Alton Elis. The former's "Black Man's Pride" is one the greatest records ever written about racial strife. As Rodigan said in an interview with Gilles Peterson, "The songs that made reggae music truly great, internationally recognized and deeply loved were the songs that spoke out against injustice." Another standout track is the mega-rare "Knock Out Punch" by King Tubby and Johnny Clarke, a perfect study in minimalistic dub. Not all of Masterpiece is up to this standard, but to be fair, not much music is. That's not too much of a problem though. David Rodigan is a traditional selector, which means he doesn't mix—if you want to skip the odd track, you're not losing out. You have to give Ministry Of Sound credit for the Masterpiece series, which has drawn great results from Rodigan as well as Andrew Weatherall and Gilles Peterson. Perhaps they're finally seeking atonement for The Very Best Of Euphoric Funky House Breakdown.
  • Tracklist
      CD1: Hey Youthman Track 01. The Kinks - You Really Got Me 02. The Yardbirds - For Your Love 03. Marvin Gaye - Ain't That Peculiar 04. The Impressions - Gypsy Woman 05. James Brown & The Famous Flames - I Loves You Porgy 06. Etta James - At Last 07. The Tornadoes - Telstar 08. Small Faces - Itchycoo Park 09. Dusty Springfield - You Don't Have To Say You Love Me 10. Bessie Banks - Go Now 11. Aaron Neville - Tell It Like It Is 12. Jet Harris & Tony Meehan - Diamonds 13. Justin Hinds & The Dominos - Carry Go Bring Come 14. Desmond Dekker - Beautiful And Dangerous 15. Alton Ellis - Black Man's Pride 16. Bob Marley & The Wailers - Small Axe 17. Delroy Wilson - Love Uprising 18. Augustus Pablo - Java CD2: Cool Out Son Track 01. Dennis Brown - My Time 02. Bob Andy - Life 03. The Heptones - Meaning Of Life 04. The Abyssinians - Poor Jason Whyte 05. Freddie McGregor - Big Ship 06. Johnny Osbourne & The Sensations - See And Blind 07. Brent Dowe - When The Sun Goes 08. Jackie Edwards & Julie Anne - In Paradise 09. Cornell Campbell - Harry Hippy 10. Lloyd Charmers - Colour Him Father 11. Tessanne Chin - You Got What I Need 12. Etana - Reggae 13. Tarrus Riley feat. Winston 'Mr Fix It' Francis - Hurt Me 14. Aswad - Back To Africa 15. Astrud Gilberto - (Take Me To) Aruanda 16. Arthur Prysock - Autumn In New York 17. Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters - A Quiet Place 18. Billy Stewart - Sitting In The Park CD3: Stepping Out of Babylon Track 01. Lee "Scratch" Perry and The Upsetters - Black Panta 02. Marcia Griffiths - Stepping Out Of Babylon 03. Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley - One Loaf Of Bread (Something For You) 04. Luciano - Deliverance 05. Exco Levi - Storms Of Life 06. Nadine Sutherland - Karma 07. Riva Starr feat. Bob Andy - The Care Song 08. Amy Winehouse - You're Wondering Now 09. Liam Bailey - When Will They Learn 10. Cate Ferris - Blaze Bright 11. Beres Hammond - No Candlelight 12. Ini Kamoze - England Be Nice 13. Raging Fyah - Nah Look Back 14. King Tubby & Johnny Clarke - Knock Out Punch 15. Busy Signal - Modern Day Slavery 16. Morgan Heritage - Stand Up 17. The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra feat. Bitty McLean - Fu Man Chu 18. Paul S.C.U.B.I Smith - Word Smith