Third World reggae music CD album mp3

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Third World (Island, 1976)

This is Third World's debut release, most unfortunately overlooked, or rather, overshadowed by band's closely followed second album, 1869 (96 In the Shade), and the gamut of their popular '80s work. Meanwhile, this self-titled album is a real gem, appealing both to contemporary fans of TW, and the reggae "purists" who tend to scoff at the band's later material. All of the songs are unquestionably roots reggae style, not watered down for the mainstream audiences. At the same time, the music is somehow more listenable, more accessible than many of the heavier acts of the era. The album opens with two excellent covers: immortal anthem "Sette Messagana" (of Abyssinians' fame), and no less proverbial "Slavery Days" (Burning Spear). At the risk of heresy, I'll admit that I like Third World's version of the latter song better. Not only because Spear is acquired taste and is less immediately comprehensible, but also because TW kicks down more chanting, harmonies, and extended instrumental jams. In fact, a friend of mine who I've played the track for, half-minute into it asked me if this wasn't a Grateful Dead tune. Of course, once the (superb) singing comes in, you know this ain't the Dead, but it is true that there's indeed an interesting affinity at play -- which has to do with spacey instrumental arrangement of the track, the initial riffing of the rhythm guitar. "Got to Get Along" borders on R&B and makes you wish that all of Third World's experimentation with mainstream stayed within the ballpark of this song. "Brand New Beggar" and "Sun Won't Shine" deservedly show up on many of the compilation albums. This release, unfortunately, is rather rare and not easy to obtain, but well worth the money! 

- Jake Marmer

Track Listing
1. Sette Messgana
2. Kumina
3. Slavery Days
4. Brand New Beggar
5. Cross Reference
6. Got to Get Along
7. Sun Won't Shine
8. Freedom Song
Third World
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Reggae Greats  reggae music CD album mp3

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Reggae Greats (Island, 1984)

I have to admit, I wasn't really expecting much when I first got this album.  Although Third World is one of the most popular reggae acts in the world, the material I'd previously heard from them (mostly late '80s and early '90s stuff) had been a little too mainstream for my taste.  Listening to this collection hasn't changed my opinion that Third World has a mainstream vibe (They themselves would probably be the first to admit it.), but Reggae Greats did manage to show me that this vibe can consistently produce quality results.  Their biggest hit on this "best of, 1976 to 1980" compilation is their remake of The O'Jays' "Now That We Found Love," a song that some will like because of its catchy chorus and some will hate because of its catchy chorus.  Either way, it's a good introduction to the Third World style.  Although not all of this album sounds like that track, much of it has a distinct '70s R&B feel.  In fact, some tunes, like "Talk to Me," sound more like they're coming from a '70s R&B band like The Commodores than from a reggae group.  And perhaps even more surprising is that it works!  It works very well, in fact, mostly because the songs are just plain good.  Good music is universal, and these tracks are well-written, well-organized, and well-performed.  Even the more "reggae-ish" tunes, like "Jah Glory" and "Cool Meditation" utilize unconventional instruments like harmonicas and rock guitars -- and as icky as that may sound to purists, it works.  Those of you aching for undiluted roots will be appeased by the remake of the Abyssinians' classic "Satta Massagana," but you will probably like the rest of the album also, despite yourself.

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Track Listing
1. Now That We Found Love
2. Prisoner in the Street
3. Always Around
4. Talk to Me
5. Cool Meditation
6. Jah Glory
7. Satta Amasa Gana
8. 96 Degrees in the Shade
9. African Woman
10. Rhythm of Life
Reggae Greats - Third World
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Reggae Ambassadors reggae music CD album mp3

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Reggae Ambassadors: 20th Anniversary Collection (PolyGram, 1993)

For those of you craving more than the 10 tracks on the Reggae Greats set, Reggae Ambassadors delivers some nice additions (Only "Prisoner in the Street" is missing.), namely the classic protest tune "Freedom Song," their subtle, inspired rendition of Bunny Wailer's "Dreamland," the instrumentals "Journey to Addis" and "Night Heat," and all of their biggest mainstream hits from the '80s and '90s: "Roots With Quality," "Dancing on the Floor," "Sense of Purpose," "Forbidden Love," and "Committed."  Although Third World has always played a hybrid of reggae and R&B/funk/pop, their '80s and '90s stuff at times leans a bit too much away from pure reggae for my taste.  Still, they display on this collection their skill for crafting irresistible hooks that will get you to sing along, whether or not you want to admit it -- sort of like that Air Supply CD you keep hidden under your bed.  Unfortunately, Reggae Ambassadors includes alternate versions of "Forbidden Love" and "Committed," featuring an MC and DJ, respectively.  Jamal-ski isn't terribly obtrusive on "Committed," but the old school rap from Stetsasonic's Daddy-O is painfully evident on "Forbidden Love."  Overall, compared to Reggae Greats, the material on Reggae Ambassadors is a bit diluted, with extras that only diehard Third World fans would relish.

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Track Listing
1. Satta Amasa Gana
2. Brand New Beggar
3. Freedom Song
4. Railroad Track [UK Mix]
5. 1865 (96 Degrees in the Shade)
6. Rhythm of Life
7. Dreamland
8. Now That We Found Love [12" Version]
9. Journey to Addis
10. Cool Meditation
11. Night Heat
12. Talk to Me
13. Irie Ites
14. Always Around
15. Uptown Rebel

1. Jah Glory [Live]
2. African Woman [Live]
3. Breaking Up Is Hard to Do [Live]
4. Roots With Quality
5. Dancing on the Floor (Hooked on Love)
6. Try Jah Love
7. Lagos Jump
8. Sense of Purpose
9. Reggae Radio Studio
10. Forbidden Love
11. Reggae Ambassador
12. DJ Ambassador
13. Riddim Haffe Rule
14. Committed
15. Mi Legal [Alternate Mix] featuring Terror Fabulous
16. Give the People What They Need

Reggae Ambassadors
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Ultimate Collection reggae music CD album mp3

Ultimate Collection (Hip-O, 2001)

This "best of" collection admirably fills in the space between that 31-track set Reggae Ambassadors and the abbreviated 10-track Reggae Greats.  None of the 3 albums is absolutely perfect, of course, but they're all useful in their own way.  While Reggae Ambassadors might be more for the diehard Third World fans and Reggae Greats for the novice listeners and those who only like their '70s work, Ultimate Collection is a decent set if you know and enjoy some Third World tunes but don't want to shell out $$$ for the double CD Reggae Ambassadors.  Keep in mind, though, that it lacks arguably seminal cuts like "Talk to Me," "Freedom Song," "African Woman," and the crossover hit "Dancing on the Floor (Hooked on Love)," and instead includes some questionable choices, like the lightweight pop cut "Take This Song."  Still, Ultimate Collection -- one in a series of of impressive "ultimate collections" released by Hip-O Records -- proves to be an entertaining and satisfyingly comprehensive overview of Third World's all-encompassing style and generation-spanning career.

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Track Listing
1. Satta Massagana
2. Kumina
3. Human Market Place
4. Dreamland
5. 1865 (96 Degrees in the Shade)
6. Jah Glory
7. Cool Meditation
8. Now That We Found Love
9. Uptown Rebel
10. Always Around
11. Roots With Quality
12. Who Gave You (Jah Rastafari)
13. Try Jah Love
14. Sense of Purpose
15. Dem Man Deh
16. Reggae Ambassador
17. Forbidden Love
18. Committed
19. Take This Song
20. One Song (Nyahbinghi)
Ultimate Collection - Third World
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Ain't Givin' Up reggae music CD album mp3

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Ain't Givin' Up (Shanachie, 2003)

After a quarter of a century on stage, Third World "ain't givin' up'. but maybe they should.  Seriously speaking, this seems to be their weakest effort in years. While the title track is in line with some of their best material, the rest is pretty pitiful -- both musically and lyrically.  And while one does not necessarily expect Langston Hughes coming out of every song, and oftentimes, in music, simple words tend to convey the most powerful messages.this album is just not that.  "Jah Is in Your Heart," a gorgeous track, is "strongly influenced" by the Abyssinians' "Peculiar Number."  If you listen to the two tracks back to back, the resemblance is embarrassing.  Re-interpretation of "Natural Mystic" as a slow R&B cut is simply trite; doesn't a cover always have to be somehow better then the original?  Otherwise, what's the point?  Now, Black Uhuru had a very decent remake of it on Black Sounds of Freedom...

- Jake Marmer

Track Listing
1. Ain't Givin' Up
2. Jah Is in Your Heart
3. Natural Mystic

4. Hold Tight

5. Rebel Rock Session

6. It's All Right

7. Get Over It

8. It's Not Too Late (Sleeper Awake)

9. As One

10. Fire My Desire

11. Paradise

12. Shine on Me

13. More Love

14. It's Over Now

Ain't Givin' Up
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