Sly & Robbie: Ultimate Collection - In Good Company Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare have played hits, produced them and regularly reinvented reggae. For 30 years. And they’re still doing it. Before our jam-packed disc even slides into your CD player, know this: it’s the Cliff’s Notes version of something that’s really enormous. Their hands forged much of the last three decades’ musical history in Jamaica, and worldwide. The 16-year-old Lowell Dunbar, nicknamed “Sly” after his idol, Sly Stone, was brought in by keyboard player Ansel Collins to play on “Night Doctor” by the Upsetters and “Double Barrel,” the historic 1971 U.K. No.1 and U.S. top 20 hit by Ansel and singer Dave Barker. Drumming and touring with Skin, Flesh and Bones, the house band of the nightclub Tit for Tat, Sly played a soul and disco-flavored style typified by Al Brown’s cover of the Al Green tune “Here I Am (Come and Take Me),” a huge hit in Jamaica and the basis of UB40’s later pop hit. Bassman Robbie Shakespeare, meanwhile, had been mentored by Aston “Family Man” Barrett (who, with drummer brother Carlton, were the rhythm section for the Upsetters in the late ’60s before joining The Wailers), and played in Bunny Lee’s studio band, the Aggrovators, where he and Sly first recorded together. Robbie worked at Evil People, just a couple of doors away from Tit For Tat, and each of them enjoyed checking the other out during their breaks. “When this drummer starts recording,” Robbie thought to himself, “all the other drummers will pack up.” They regularly played 20 tracks a day for producers around Kingston in loosely-formed, sometimes identical lineups of sidemen, notably for Joe Gibbs as the Professionals, and in Word, Sound and Power, behind Peter Tosh. But it was in the Revolutionaries, for producers Joseph (Joe Joe) and Ernest Hookim, that they hit critical mass. Updating classic Studio One rhythms, Robbie’s deep-swinging, authoritative bass lines and Sly’s prolific, innovative drum work combined razor-edged, Motown-influenced high frequencies with a hard, militant feel reflecting the charged political atmosphere of the time. This sound, tagged “rockers,” swept the sound systems. Many would say that in the country that makes more records than any other, Sly and Robbie have played on more records than anyone else. That’s close to a million by now, Sly guesses: if you want to check his math, figure 20 tunes a day for 25 years, and you get nearly 200,000 tracks, multiplied by remixes, dubs, versions and all those one-rhythm albums.


1.Half Pint - Greetings
2.Grace Jones - Pull Up To The Bumper [Party Version]
3.Black Uhuru - Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
4.Gwen Guthrie - Peek-A-Boo [promotional 12” mix]
5.Bits & Pieces – Don’t Stop The Music
6.Sly & Robbie featuring Ansel Collins - Live It Up (Beardman Shuffle)
7.Joan Armatrading - I Can’t Lie To Myself
8.Sly Dunbar - River Niger
9.Prince Jammy - Rub-A-Dub Version
10.Ini Kamoze - Trouble You A Trouble Me [album version]
11.Gregory Isaacs - Soon Forward [album version]
12.Joe Cocker - So Good So Right
13.Chaka Demus & Pliers - Murder She Wrote
14.Tappa Zukie - Dub MPLA
15.Compass Point All Stars - Peanut Butter
16.Toots Hibbert - Spiritual Healing
17.Dennis Brown - Sitting & Watching

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