Personnel: Danny Browne (guitar, synthesizer); Dalton Browne (guitar); Dean Fraser (horns, background vocals); Rass Brass (horns); Robert Lyn (synthesizer); Cleveland "Clevie" Browne (drums, percussion, background vocals); Mikey Bennett, Nadine Sutherland, Pam Hall, Tony Gold, J.C. Lodge, Brian Gold (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Steven Stanley .
Liner Note Author: Harry Hawke.
Recording information: Music Works Studios, Kingston, Jamaica.
Authors: Augustus "Gussie" Clarke; Dave Hendley; Leonard Chin.
Illustrator: Tony McDermott.
Producer and label owner Augustus "Gussie" Clarke is well respected for his pre-dancehall work -- most notably for bringing the world Big Youth's grand album Screaming Target -- but once Wayne Smith's "Under Me Sleng Teng" changed reggae for good with its synthetic rhythms, Clarke signed up for the revolution and his career began to thrive. It was then that his Music Works studios began to crank out a series of hit singles, both in Jamaica and the U.K., most of which land on Greensleeves' excellent compilation 12" Rulers. Better yet for the collector, these are the less frequently heard 12" mixes, meaning the cool groove of Gregory Isaacs' "Rumours" is allowed ample leg room, while J.C. Lodge's big hit and compilation staple "Telephone Love" appears in a different version than usual. Other key tracks include the Isaacs and Dennis Brown collaboration "Big All Around," which is as massive as its title suggests, along with the all-star "Pirates' Anthem," which sings the praises of offshore broadcasters. The Mighty Diamonds' "Mr. Bodyguard" is a great example of how the rootsy harmony group survived and at times embraced the digital age, plus there's the first version of Shabba Ranks' breakthrough single "Mr. Lover Man," which was originally a vehicle for the sweet-voiced Deborahe Glasgow. With "John Law," "Twice My Age," and "Dancehall Good to We" still to go, it becomes pretty clear that the album is all killer and no filler, but what's most amazing is how Clarke dropped all these immortal tracks in just four years. A handful of impatient novices might be put off by the fact that most everything here breaks the six-minute mark, but otherwise this is that rare compilation that can satisfy newcomers and veterans alike with its prime ragga in proper versions. ~ David Jeffries
Rumours - Gregory Isaacs (12" Mix)
Telephone Love - J.C. Lodge (12" Mix)
No Bother Dis (Soundboy) - Shabba Ranks (12" Mix)
Big All Around - Dennis Brown/Gregory Isaacs (12" Mix)