Like so many of Jamaica's greatest groups, the Maytals launched their career at Studio One, and then like so many that found fame, the group then switched its allegiance, first making the studio rounds, before spending a spell with Prince Buster. Before 1964 was out, however, the trio had linked with Byron Lee for whom it recorded its first Jamaican chart-topper, "It's You." That hit was finally pushed off the top of the charts by the single's flip side, the soulful, doo wop ballad "Daddy." By the time the Maytals released their second single, the skanking "Fever," all of Jamaica was infected, and from there on out the hits rained down. The gospel-inflected jubilance of "Never You Change," its polar thematic opposite, the adamant "If You Act This Way," and the exuberantly goofy "My New Name" all rocketed up the Jamaican chart. The trio's exhilarating gospel-flavored vocals suited any style, be it the sweet blues of "It's No Use," the jazzy brass-drenched "What's on Your Mind," the fabulous R&B found on "I Know," which also boasts a superb solo from guitarist Ernest Ranglin, the mento that inspires "She Will Never Let Me Down," and, of course, the many propulsive ska numbers. So strong were these singles that before 1965 had drawn to a close, an impatient Lee bundled up a batch and pressed them onto a full-length, appropriately titling the set The Sensational Maytals. The group certainly was sensational, and although many more hits were still to come, this album was the perfect portrait of the group at its ska height.
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AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene