Black Uhuru

This Is Crucial Reggae

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The series might be crucial reggae, but this collection from Black Uhuru doesn't qualify as essential. To be fair, there's the excellent "I Love King Selassie" from the band's early days in the Kingston ghetto, but there's a complete absence of anything they released on Island -- the material that made their name and also helped propel the rhythm team of Sly and Robbie into the spotlight. How you can claim a Black Uhuru collection is crucial without "Sinsemillia," "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?," "Spongi Reggae," or a strong selection from their Grammy album, Anthem, is a mystery. They've done some excellent work since, it has to be admitted, but even that pales in comparison to their real glory days in the late '70s and early '80s, when they offered a very fresh perspective on roots reggae. There are much better collections available, such as Liberation or 20th Century Masters. But take this for what it really is, some of the better work of the band's later days, and it's not bad.

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