Roots reggae was beginning to have an impact by this time, and its rise was reflected in the fourth volume of the Tighten Up series, notably with the seminal opening track, Niney's apocalyptic "Blood and Fire." The Ethiopians' "The Selah" was also a roots classic, as was the Slickers' "Johnny Too Bad." Elsewhere, Merelene Webber and the Pioneers offer up heartfelt sufferer's songs. But it wasn't all "Hard Life" and "Starvation"; Hopeton Lewis, for one, was "Grooving Out on Life," with a soulful take on the Newbeats' hit. Jean and the Gaytones were grooving out to Art Garfunkel on their upbeat, reggaefied cover of "I Shall Sing." For the record, Jean is actually Judy Mowatt of the Gayletts and the I-Threes. Merelene Webber was grooving on her true love across a soulful, reggaefied cover of "Stand By Your Man." Life was less bright for the Ethiopians, whose encore track, "Good Ambition," was to rid themselves of an unworthy girlfriend. The Lowbites, an alias for a coterie of U.K. reggae sessionmen, claim that "I Got It," but all they've found is loneliness. The song is an intriguing blend of British beat melody set to a reggae beat. Music Doctor, Dandy Livingstone's backing band, offer up an equally intriguing musical hybrid on "Bush Doctor," which boasts a syncopated beat, a hint of funk, and a Billy Preston-ish piano lead. In contrast, the Maytals deliver up a straightforward John Crow skank on the rude "One Eye Enos," the set's only suggestive song. It's evident that tastes are shifting and Trojan was continuing to keep up with these changes.
AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene