Toots & the Maytals

The Pressure Drop: The Best of Toots & the Maytals

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This sumptuous collection initially began life as a much shorter compilation, which has now been spruced up with a further ten tracks for reissue on CD. The album's original 14 numbers were culled from Toots & the Maytals' singles and full-lengths from the late '60s through 1974. "Pressure Drop" itself, "Pomps and Pride," "54-46 Was My Number," and "Monkey Man" all shook up the British reggae scene, with "Funky Kingston" and "In the Dark," the title tracks to the band's 1973 and 1974 albums, respectively, showing their shift into funkier territory. Both those sets were extremely popular in their day, and deservedly so; however, the modern trad scene now seems to favor the "purer" reggae sound of the group's earlier material, in which case the bonus tracks, which draw heavily from that period, should thrill younger fans. "One Eyed Enos," "Monkey Girl," "Peeping Tom," and the smash hit "It's You" are guaranteed to get any party skanking. Even so, to call this collection The Best of Toots & the Maytals takes chutzpah. Besides the lack of any of the band's equally scintillating ska-era hits, the omission of "Sweet and Dandy" and "Bam Bam" makes nonsense of such a claim. Still, for this particular period, it's a pretty impressive collection.

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