Reggae music artists
Released in 1977, the album's vocal trio predicted that the date of July 7, 1977 (7/7/77) was to be an apocalyptic day of judgment. The world didn't end, but it was an incredible year for music with disco at its apex and the explosion of punk. Culture came on the scene and caused its own stir with this album, influencing school and shop closings on that fateful day. After the excitement had died down, what was left was a lilting, cool zephyr of roots music rounded out by keys and horns.
Gregory Isaacs, Night Nurse
Soulful pop reggae from one of Jamaica's best-loved singers, Night Nurse was a hit and affirmed Isaacs's presence as a star. Known to his fans as "The Cool Ruler, " he was considered by many to be the inventor of "lovers rock" and introduced smooth, clean singing and strong songwriting that wasn't limited to Rastafarian themes. The prolific singer passed away in 2010 from lung cancer, but left a legacy of hundreds of albums, of which Night Nurse is the pinnacle.
White-boy reggae from Hawaii? Yes. Though they scored big with college-music fans and surprised reggae lovers with the 2010 debut "Time Bomb, " Iration's latest album feels like a sunny day in the Carribean. Perhaps it's got something to do with living the island life, but Iration brings lovers rock and pop reggae slow-dancing into the new millennium. Standouts include the title track, "Show Me (featuring Lincoln Parrish), " and "Splintered Heart."
Jimmy Cliff, The Harder They Come
The soundtrack to the 1972 film is considered a Jimmy Cliff album, but is in fact a soundtrack featuring five other Jamaican artists, including ska legend Desmond Dekker and equally legendary Toots & The Maytals (credited as "The Maytals"). The Jimmy Cliff songs "You Can Get It If You Really Want" and the title track helped bring reggae to worldwide attention. Other standouts include "Rivers of Babylon" by The Melodians; "007 (Shanty Town)" by Desmond Dekker; and "Pressure Drop" by The Maytals (later covered by The Clash). As mellow and beautiful as it gets.
Prince Far I, Cry Tuff Dub Encounter Chapter 1
If you've never heard dub, this is as good a place to start as any. Dub music started as instrumental B-sides to singles that were stripped of vocals and re-tooled with heavy effects and evolved into its own genre. Most dub is drum and bass, echo-heavy, and is the likely soundtrack to any head shop worth its weight in ganja. Prince Far I (along with innovators King Tubby and Lee "Scratch" Perry) is an old-school master who sometimes gets on the mic, but mostly turns the knobs and creates cool sounds like this.