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Comment by GUEST on 2015-10-16 23:41:59
(Audio CD) I bought this one on cattsese back in 1989, and at the time, had not heard a number of the tracks presented here. This is a good representation of the styles of music Island had been signing over its lengthy history; nonetheless, it *is* mainly a hits collection. None of Island's true oddities are here at all--its deep collection of folk-rock and prog is not represented at all. This is due mainly to the fact that most of these acts were signed to Island in America as well as in the UK, with only a few being distributed on other labels (e.g. A&M in the case of Free and Fairport, and Fontana in the UK in the case of Millie Small and the Spencer Davis Group). For those acts, the listener would be well advised to seek out the recent box set Strangely Strange But Oddly Normal, or any of the label's 40th Anniversary single-CD comps (Vol. 1--Ska's the Limit 1959-1964, for example, or Vol. 3--Acoustic Waves 1968-1975, Vol. 4--Electric Currents 1967-1975), which give a fairer representation of Island's complete history. (Chris Blackwell actually established the label in Jamaica in 1959, keeping his base of operations in Kingston until 1962, when the country declared its independence and Blackwell picked up stakes and moved to London.)That said, the hits are indeed noteworthy--big international hits like U2's "With or Without You," Free's "All Right Now" and the Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star"; alternative hits like Sparks' "This Town Ain't Big Enough for Both of Us" or Fairport Convention's "Si Tu Dois Partir" (French version of Bob Dylan's "If You Gotta Go, Go Now"); ska (Millie Small's "My Boy Lollipop," Island's first major hit single from 1964, which features Rod Stewart on harmonica), reggae, disco ("Cuba," "Now That We've Found Love"), dub/dancehall ("Boops (Here to Go)"); unclassifiable oddities like "Adventures in Success." This collection scratches the surface of Island; as a big fan of the label's wonderfully varied musical roster, I encourage one and all to start here, and dig deeper.