Live at Reggae Sunsplash

Toots & the Maytals

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Live at Reggae Sunsplash Review

by Alex Henderson

Toots & the Maytals' August 4, 1982 performance at the Reggae Sunplash festival in Montego Bay, Jamaica can be heard on at least two CDs. One is An Hour Live on Genes; another is Live at Reggae Sunsplash. While An Hour Live is devoted entirely to the band, only half of this CD focuses on Toots & the Maytals -- the other half offers inspired performances by singers John Holt ("Sweetie, Come Brush Me") and Byron Lee (whose "Mek We Jam" combines ska with calypso) as well as two of the most famous toasters in pre-dancehall dub: U-Roy ("Wear You to the Ball Tonight") and Big Youth, who embraces pure dub on "Satta Amasagana" but is heard as a singer instead of a toaster on "Every Nigger Is a Star." Though Youth is much better at toasting than singing, his performance on the latter does have a certain charm. After Youth, the CD turns its attention to Toots & the Maytals. Some of the same Toots & the Maytals gems heard on An Hour Live are also heard on this CD, including "His Songs Live On (Tribute to Bob Marley)" and the major hits "Monkey Man" and "Get Up, Stand Up" (not to be confused with Marley's protest song). Because An Hour Live contains almost 40 minutes' worth of material that isn't on Live at Reggae Sunsplash, that CD would be a much better choice for hardcore Toots & the Maytals fans. But for those who already have An Hour Live and aren't budget-minded, the material by artists other than Toots & the Maytals is pleasing, if less than essential.

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