Max Romeo

Ultimate Collection: Max Romeo

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Be warned, Ultimate Collection refers to this release's place in the Hip-O Records series, not to its content. Whether Max Romeo has disowned the ribald "Wet Dream" or not, its absence alone puts the album's title in question. Instead it's a decent overview of his roots tracks from the '70s, an era when Romeo's religious and political views will have a lot to do with the listener's enjoyment. "Maccabee Version" is guaranteed to stick in the head, but its suggestion to throw out the King James version of the Bible will be off-putting to many. "Socialism Is Love" is a noble cry for equality amongst the people, but has no place on an Ultimate Collection. The mighty "War Ina Babylon" is included in its original single release, a fact that is not mentioned on the outside cover. The excellent "War Rock" appears in an alternate mix, "Wah Rock," but has been mastered from an original 45 that sounds like its on its last legs. Elsewhere there's the ultra-funky "How Long Must We Wait," the breezy "A Fi We Country," and two great Jah Lloyd disco-mixes that all sweeten the collection. According to Romeo, who was involved in track selection, "the road to righteousness is narrow." That viewpoint might help explain the lack of his lighter early sides, but a little truth in advertising would have been helpful.

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