Slim Smith was blessed with one of the most haunting voices in Jamaica -- soft, but with astounding power, yet shot through with an astonishing vulnerability that added to the emotional impact of every song he sang. He took the Techniques to fame, then did the same with the Uniques, while at the same time also recording as a solo artist (although usually backed by members of his current group). Born to Love focuses on the rocksteady era and compiles some of Smith's best-loved solo songs from the age, along with a number of rarer offerings. A clutch of these tracks are covers, mostly Motown and R&B hits, but each is reborn in Smith's hands. All are produced by Coxsone Dodd, whose upbeat, perky arrangements are often at odds with the actual mood of the song, but the singer's emotion is so palpable that it matters not. There again, "Happy Times" should be a happy song, and the arrangement is thus appropriate, but Smith turns the theme into wishful thinking and instead of singing his blues away, he's caught between melancholy and wistful. When he begs "Please be true, darling," on "I've Got Your Number," only a heart of stone wouldn't feel a pang of guilt. It was this ability to give even the simplest lines deep emotional resonance that made Smith a star. It was quality that brought out the best in others, as on his duet with Norma Frazier and with the equally soulful Delroy Wilson. But the best tracks are those in which he carries the lead alone, and songs like the title track; the classic "You Don't Care," arguably his most exquisite number; and "Rougher Yet," where he exudes an unexpected toughness, are all sheer masterpieces amongst an album filled with exceptional artistry.