At the age of twelve a young David Rodigan was struck by one of the most well-known guitar riffs in rock history – The Kinks’ You Really Got Me. About a year later he was struck again. But this time it was a new beat – ska and Millie Small’s My Boy Lollipop. This was something new and exciting and a beat that has stayed by his side for his entire musical career.
On the new compilation Masterpiece – a series from UK label Ministry of Sound – David Rodigan tells his own musical story via 54 tracks spread over three discs. It showcases his formative years in the 60s and what he thinks could be the future of reggae. In between the compilation is crowded with reggae classics.
But this is not just a reggae compilation, even though the majority of the cuts comes from Caribbean sources. The compilation starts off with the sounds of 60s British pop and American soul, and then passing through four decades of the evolution of Jamaican music in many of its guises – ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub, dancehall and the new roots revival.
And when listening to the album it’s clear that David Rodigan’s music taste is mostly about beautiful melodies and well-crafted songs. No hard or provocative dancehall is included. No Bounty Killer, no Beenie Man and no Vybz Kartel. Just sweet sounds and positive messages from Alton Ellis, Etana, Cornell Campbell, Dennis Brown and Marcia Griffiths. Somewhat surprising.
But there’s more. No Gregory Isaacs, no Slim Smith and no Garnett Silk. Mr Rodigan is however excused since the selection is more or less flawless with personal favorites like Johnny Osbourne & The Sensations’ See and Blind, Ini Kamoze’s England Be Nice, Desmond Dekker’s Beautiful and Dangerous and The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra & Bitty McLean’s Fu Man Chu.
Masterpiece is a document of David Rodigan’s journey as an individual and a club and radio DJ. For more than 30 years many have listened and learnt from him. This compilation is a great way to do just that.