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Pressure Drop: The Definitive Collection

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Album Review

Although the original incarnation of Toots & the Maytals (Toots Hibbert, Nathaniel "Jerry" McCarthy, and Raleigh Gordon) parted ways in 1981 (Toots continues to tour with a revamped version of the Maytals), they managed between the years 1964 and 1974, the period covered by this two-disc retrospective from Trojan Records, to assemble one of the most highly charged and distinctive bodies of work in the history of Jamaican music. Led by Toots' Kingston-by-way-of-Memphis lead vocals and the ragged call-and-response background singing of McCarthy and Gordon, the trio created gospel-fueled reggae classics like "Bam Bam," "54-46 Was My Number," "Monkey Man," "Sweet and Dandy," "Pomps and Pride," "Funky Kingston," and the immortal "Pressure Drop," all of which carried the stomp and wallop of the best and most enduring soul music of the day. Later gems like "In the Dark" and "Time Tough" kept the stomp and added wise and insightful lyrics to create classic songs that still ring solid and true 30 years later. Pressure Drop: The Definitive Collection brings together the best tracks from those crucial years, including sides produced by Ken Khouri, Byron Lee, Ronnie Nasralla, Warrick Lyn, and Delroy Williams (he produced the 2000 remake of "Broadway Jungle" that is included here), as well as several tracks produced by the great Leslie Kong, arguably the most sympathetic to the Maytals' sound. Island's two-disc Time Tough anthology adds more early ska sides along with some post-1974 material to give a better portrait of the Maytals' complete history, but the heart and soul of their reputation is still based on what you'll hear in this set.

Customer Reviews

One of the Greatest....

This is the best collection of Toots songs I've seen. It is better than their Greatest Hits album. If you don't know who they are, they basically invented reggae and put it on the map. Many of these songs, like 54-46, Bam Bam, and Broadway Jungle, are some of the most famous reggae tracks ever made. Put this album right up beside Bob Marley's Legend. Simply a must-have.


Formed: 1966

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

While they never achieved the commercial success or cultural impact of the Wailers, Toots & the Maytals were nearly as important in the history of Jamaican music; like the Wailers, the Maytals thrived as ska gave way to rocksteady and then evolved into reggae, they boasted one of the island's finest singers and most charismatic frontmen in the great Toots Hibbert, and they worked with many of the most important producers and sidemen on the island. The Maytals were also the band that most clearly...
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Pressure Drop: The Definitive Collection, Toots & The Maytals
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