After cataloging my Blues collection, I decided to do something small, Reggae. I believe Reggae is the smallest segment of my collection that I will bother separating. I almost didn’t. I almost just lumped it in with Folk, but most people, in America at least, think of American Folk music when they hear Folk, so I figured I would give it its own category. As a type of music, it certainly warrants its own category, I just don’t have much of it.
I have a grand total of eight Reggae releases, and I don’t think I missed any. It’s so small because I know myself too well. I’ve never looked past the surface of Reggae because that would turn into me wanting dozens or hundreds of Reggae albums. I’ve never had enough money for all the records I do buy, so I have to limit myself somehow. I generally like what I hear, except for Dub, and I’m sure I’m depriving myself, but that’s the way things go.
I have two Bob Marley albums, Catch a Fire and Exodus. I’m sure I have Exodus because there used to be a law in America that required every white person from the suburbs to have a copy of Jamming and Three Little Birds. Luckily they’ve relaxed the law since nobody buys records anymore, but back in the day I didn’t want to get in trouble. It turns out I like Exodus, so I’m sure that’s why I picked up Catch a Fire. And I like that one, too.
I have Peter Tosh’s Legalize It (Echodelic Remixes). I have no idea why I own this one. It was a limited edition Record Store Day exclusive in 2012, but I don’t normally get things for their collectability, especially things that I don’t want to listen to. And I don’t like it at all. Remember what I said earlier about Dub. It sounds fake and has no soul. I wrote a while ago about my strong preference for live music. This is about as far away from live as you can get.
Next I have two albums by Third World, Reggae Ambassadors: 20th Anniversary Collection and Third World Live. And I know exactly why I have them. In the early 90s, probably 1992, I went to see Santana. Third World was the opener and they were fantastic. I was completely unfamiliar with them before seeing them, so the collection was to get me up to speed. The live album was just because they were so good live, I figured it had to be good. I’m still quite happy with both of these purchases.
Then there’s Toots & The Maytals. I have Ska Father and True Love. I’m pretty sure Toots is the most famous Reggae musician after Bob Marley. He frequently collaborates with other musicians in different genres. So, even as a non-Reggae fan, I heard him quite a bit. I’m sure these two were just to find out what he sounds like on his own records.
Finally, I have Wingless Angels by Wingless Angels. I got this one because of Keith Richards. He produced it. It’s basically a drum and chant record. It reminds me of field hollers or 1920s era spirituals. It’s strangely hypnotic and satisfying. They put out a follow-up record a few years ago. I’d like it, but I haven’t gotten around to buying it yet.
And that’s my history with Reggae. It’s limited, but I like it. What’s not to like? The melodies are catchy and the bass lines are wonderful. If I win the lottery, I’d love to do a deep dive and learn more. But, for now, I’ll just have to be satisfied with what I’ve got.