August 6th marks the 50th Anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence and VP Records is celebrating with the island's iconic music. On July 31, the label will release an extensive 3 CD set Out Of Many, 50 Years Of Reggae Music - chronicling the genre's evolution with an iconic hit from each year since 1962.
Out Of Many - 50 Years of Reggae Music captures the essence of every era over the past five decades with these 51 distinctive hits from artists including Lord Creator, Alton Ellis, Skatalites, Augustus Pablo, Dennis Brown, Culture, Eek-A-Mouse, Yellowman, Barrington Levy, Gregory Isaacs, Shabba Ranks, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Ninjaman, Beres Hammond, Lady Saw, Beenie Man, Sizzla, Sean Paul, Elephant Man, Tanya Stephens, Mavado, Gyptian and many more. The collection includes extensive liner notes written by reggae historian Noel Hawks. He discusses the innovation and evolution of the island's music, and how the iconic label VP Records - once Randy's Record Mart at 17 North Parade in Kingston, Jamaica - played a crucial role in the production and worldwide distribution of these sounds.
The album features the monumental anthems that played a pivotal role in the Jamaica's musical history. The disc opens with Trinidadian singer Lord Creator's 1962 calypso track "Independent Jamaica." This benchmark record was the #1 in Jamaica at the time and was produced by Vincent Chin, the founder of Randy's and VP Records. It was also the first song licensed in the U.K. by Chris Blackwell's Island label.
The set then delves into the ska era with The Skatalites' "Malcolm X" to the soulful cool sounds of rocksteady with hits "Mouth A Massy" by Alton Ellis, "Take It Easy" Hopeton Lewis and "Ba Ba Boom" by The Jamaicans. Featured songs like Dave and Ansel Collin's timeless "Double Barrel" (Jamaica's first #1 hit in the UK) and Dennis Brown's "Westbound Train" mark the defining era of reggae, which is further solidified with 70s' roots classics like Junior Byles' ominous "Fade Away" and Culture's "Two Sevens Clash."
The Out Of Many collection also includes the 1985 game-changing hit "Under Me Sleng Teng" produced by King Jammy and the track's vocalist Wayne Smith. This song introduced computer driven rhythms, which spawned the dancehall era and created the template for contemporary reggae music as a whole.
From dancehall hits (Shabba Ranks' "Mr. Loverman," Beenie Man's "Who Am I," Sean Paul's "Get Busy" and Mavado's "Weh Dem A Do") to lover's rock anthems (Beres Hammond's "Can't Stop A Man" and Gyptian's "Hold You"), roots reggae tunes (Sizzla's "Just One Of Those Days" and Tanya Stephens' "These Streets") leading into dubstep ("Zungguzungguguzunggezeng (Horsepower Remix)" by Yellowman), Out of Many's musical sphere offers a well-rounded variety of the island's seminal sounds.
Over the past fifty years Jamaica's music has made an indelible mark as a cultural beacon throughout the world. Today, reggae is one of the most influential musical forms. Out Of Many celebrates these achievements of the past and the promise of the future in one must-have collection.