Toots & the Maytals

20 Massive Hits

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All 20 of these tracks hail from Toots & the Maytals' early career, spanning 1966-1974. So it's not the place to get a best-of overview of their entire legacy, despite the "Greatest Hits" lettering on the spine; the two-CD Time Tough: The Anthology in particular is the recommended collection for that purpose. However, if you do want a deep scoop of early Toots & the Maytals sides and aren't particularly worried about whether it might overlap with past or future purchases, this is pretty dynamite. Some of the group's best-known songs are here, including "54-46 That's My Number," "Pressure Drop," "Time Tough," "Funky Kingston," and "Do the Reggay." But there are also some other fine tunes that don't necessarily show up on other best-of compilations, like "It Must Be True Love," with its unexpectedly pop-influenced tender melody; the moodier-than-usual B-side "Night and Day," and "Monkey Girl," the "answer" record to their own "Monkey Man." None of the cuts are clunkers, and all of this was crucial to helping build a bridge from rocksteady to the style known internationally as reggae music. The documentation and liner notes aren't exhaustive, just providing the original years of release for all the tracks (as this does) puts it way ahead of the average reggae compilation.

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