U-Roy, the legendary DJ who could fire up a sound system party like no other, is rightfully acknowledged as one of the best toasters to ever approach a microphone. The man could read from a phone book and make it a celebration. This Is Crucial Reggae just skims the surface of the ebullient world of U-Roy, picking a few tracks from his earliest years recorded in the late '60s with Duke Reid, a few from his fiery late-'70s roots period with Bunny Lee, and some contemporary tracks from the '90s with Mad Professor at the helm. U-Roy's catalog from the end of the 20th century can be uneven at times, but some of the best cuts from that time have ended up here, including his fantastic pairing with Yabby You, "I'm a Rasta Man." His excellent late-'70s track "Rock With I," cut over a Bunny Wailer vocal, is here, and so is his version of John Holt's Paragons classic "Wear You to the Ball." There are more thorough collections of U-Roy's classics out there, but this is a fine introduction and a great budget ticket to a never-ending party. It might be best to let the inimitable Originator speak for himself, though, as he says in "Treasure Isle Skank": "Shoo-be-doo-be-scooby-dooby-doo-be-woo-doo, wow!"
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AllMusic Review by Wade Kergan