Culture

This Is Crucial Reggae

  • AllMusic Rating
    7
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Here's the problem: how do you put together a collection of what can be called (with a straight face) "crucial" Culture recordings when you only have control of the last 12 years or so of their catalog? The answer: live versions of "Two Sevens Clash" and "Too Long in Slavery," both of them songs that date from the group's mid-'70s heyday, presented here in live performances from the late '90s. Luckily for you, singer Joseph Hill has the kind of voice that only improves with age, and his songwriting has only tightened and simplified with the years, leaving his most recent songs even more effortlessly hooky and attractive than those classics of the roots era were. (Sure, Two Sevens Clash is the album that shows up on all the critics' lists, but admit it: you'd rather listen to One Stone.) In fact, this album contains only one real clunker: the silly and maudlin "Psalm of Bob Marley." Everything else, from the charmingly temporal-minded "Good Things" to the gently remonstrative "One Stone" to the horn-heavy "Trust Me," is pretty much -- you know -- crucial, leaving the honest critic with nothing to complain about except the program's rather stingy 48-minute length. Don't fool yourself into thinking this is all the Culture you need, but it's a fine place to start.

blue highlight denotes track pick