[CD] TOOTS & THE MAYTALS • PRESSURE DROP: THE BEST OF TOOTS & THE MAYTALS • U.K. IMPORT
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This single disc compilation covers a period of 15 years so a lot of favourites are going to be left out (though it's well filled at 75 minutes) but as an introduction to the joyful voice of the late Toots Hibbert it's excellent. 5 of the 20 tracks are from their period recording for the Chinese-Jamaican producer Leslie Kong between 1968 and 1971 as The Maytals, the remainder are from their international period on Island, with the latest track here (Spiritual Healing) being a solo track by Toots from after the original Maytals split in 1982. All were released on singles, a few as B-sides.
The Leslie Kong tracks are the most obvious and best-known of their era but a substantial proportion of the later material will only be known to those who already have the relevant original releases, though all are very good. A message on the back of the case suggests that "many tracks (are) new to CD" but, even in 2012 when this collection was issued, we don't actually think this applied to more than a couple, namely Papa Dee Mama Dear, which prior to this collection only seems to have been issued on a 1981 single and the Jamaican version of the Knock Out album, and Dog War, a killer remake from 1976 of a ska tune they recorded for Prince Buster in 1964, which first appeared on the B-side of Reggae Got Soul and has, since the release of this collection, been issued on an expanded version of the Reggae Got Soul album. The presence of these two tracks - justified on quality alone, especially Dog War - also makes this album desirable to more serious fans who might otherwise ignore a cheap "best of" compilation.