Title: Strictly The Best 44
Artist: Various Artists
Label: VP Records
The days when “Strictly The Best” were really strictly the best have long passed. For the past 10 years or so, one of VP Records’ stellar compilations, has taken a turn of being just another Reggae compilation! The selections have become weak and in-consistence, as if no care or thought are given when selecting the tracks. With access to just about all the hit songs for the past 12 months, VP Records has been coming up short with songs chosen for this annual compilation – especially the singers’ set, always the even-number volume of the two. Another major problem “Strictly The Best” is facing, is the fact that almost 50% of the songs selected are also licensed to other producers for their compilations. And those producer release their compilations way earlier than VP Records – so by time VP Records releases theirs, the tracks are already widely available and are staled to the public. To counter this delimema, VP Records adds some odd tracks, fillers, which just make the situation worse!
Big tunes on volume 44 of “Strictly The Best” include: Tarrus Riley’s No.1 “Shaka Zulu Pickney”;
“People Talk” by Etana – also a No.1 track; “A House Is Not A Home” by Freddie McGregor, “Yap Yap” by Richie Spice, and “Pure As The Nile” from I Wayne. Among the notables: “My Number One” from Gyptian, “Still In Love” Chris Martin and Alaine, “This Time” Jamelody, “I Am Missing You” Beres Hammond, “The System” by Romain Virgo, and Tessanne Chin’s “Firework.”
When all is said and done, it is still wise to add this collection of songs to your library. For me as a collector, it’s always good to have songs in my library – good and bad ones – just in case I am called on. Oh, lest I forget, this year’s artwork is horrible, some of the ugliest drawings I’ve ever seen, just another area of regression for this compilation.