Masterpiece: created by David Rodigan
Ministry of Sound/Southbound
For the latest in the Ministry of Sound series known as Masterpiece it’s over to David Rodigan. Known best for his love of reggae – and all aspects of Jamaican music – David Rodigan has a rich history as broadcaster, collector, curator and public DJ. From compiling great selections of rare cuts through to beating the best in the business at battles, his knowledge and pursuit of Jamaican music is second to none. His passion so palpable. So here, as is the way with this Ministry of Sound series, he tells his story through the music of others, runs a narrative of growing up with music – through some deep reggae cuts and some nice, surprising examples of classic pop, rock and soul.
This is a triple disc packed with gems and he really doesn’t put a foot wrong, kicking off with Kinks, Yardbirds, Small Faces and on through Marvin Gaye, James Brown and Etta James we’re treated to songs we’ve heard a bunch of times before, sure, but not in this order, not in this way – and for every obvious selection (You Really Got Me, For Your Love, Itchycoo Park) we have James Brown singing I Loves You Porgy and The Impressions’ Gypsy Woman, Bessie Banks’ wonderful Go Now and that powerhouse performance that is Dusty Springfield singing You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me.
In fact it takes until the final third of the first disc before we even get to a trace of reggae – though songs like Gypsy Woman hint at where this music is going to go when we remind ourselves that it’s Rodigan selecting.
So then we’re onto the big names – Desmond Dekker and Bob Marley and The Wailers, Delroy Wilson and Augustus Pablo.
Disc two and disc three continue the exploration – but for every King Tubby there’s a Riva Starr, there’s glimpses back away from reggae too (an Amy Winehouse track is included) but it’s the great conscious reggae tracks, whether it’s Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley’s One Loaf of Bread or The Abyssinians with Poor Jason Whtye that have the biggest impact.
And there’s so many worlds of wonderful music here – you could come away with a new favourite each time. Fortunately, Rodigan cares more about making the selection than mixing – so this is not the usual mixed set you might expect from Ministry of Sound. That means you can add favourites to your iPod, put discs on shuffle, skip bits and pieces and play in any order – make your own story. Or sit back and work through all 54 songs in the order David Rodigan intended; hear his story…
However you cut it – and whether you even bother to slice it up – it’s a wonderful compilation, some deep and profound music right here.