The Big Ska Box (1998 UK 54-track 3-CD set, features 3 discs entitled Ska Hits, Covered In Skas and Legends Of Ska, picture sleeves in outer slipcase, over 2½ hours of classic ska tracks!
Roots is Curtis Mayfield's visionary album, a landmark creation every bit as compelling and far-reaching in its musical and extra-musical goals as Marvin Gaye's contemporary What's Goin' On. Opening on the hit "Get Down," the album soars on some of the sweetest and most eloquent – yet driving – soul sounds heard up to that time. Mayfield's growing musical ambitions, first manifested on the Curtis album, and his more sophisticated political sensibilities, presented with a lot of raw power on Curtis Live!, are pulled together here in a new, richer studio language, embodied in extended song structures ("Underground"), idealistic yet lyrically dazzling anthems ("We Got to Have Peace," "Keep On Keeping On," and, best of all, the soaring "Beautiful Brother of Mine"), and impassioned blues ("Now You're Gone").
Taking Beenie’s original 1992 album Cool Cool Rider and adding a heap of tracks from that era, this Trojan set is a highly desirable disc for the dancehall singer’s most hardcore fans. It’s likely they’ve encountered these tracks before, although on inferior sets with poor sound quality. The source material is still rough and recorded on the cheap, but Trojan does what they can as crucial cuts like “No Mama No Cry,” “Black Liberty,” and the title track punch out of the speakers like they did on their original Jamaican 45s. Newcomers should be warned that Beenie was more aggressive and less tuneful than he would become two years later when songs like “Slam” and “Romie” came along, and you certainly shouldn’t expect anything as smooth as “Girls Dem Sugar” since this material is much more frantic. A couple tracks from a decade earlier, when a ten-year-old Beenie scored a hit with “Too Fussy,” would have made this the ultimate early set, but it’s a small complaint seeing as how Trojan has liberated this rare material from bootleg status.