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[Off The Record]
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Big Youth may have had the big mouth, and U Roy might have been the original Jamaican sound-system " toaster " and inspiration, but to me the " I " in the late toaster Roy Reed’s name stands for " Irresistible. " Touting I Self features 16 tracks from the mid-’70s golden age of toasting, a time of mellifluous reefer and Rasta raps that contrast sharply with the crackhead rants of the dancehall blazers who would follow. I-Roy’s delivery was a silver-tongued sing-song, warm and gracious even when toeing the Marcus Garvey party line on " Reparation is a Must. " For licensing reasons, perhaps, his greatest track, the barn-burning " Black Man Time, " isn’t here. But the material is still strong, from the American-pop-culture-obsessed " Buck and the Preacher " to smooth cruisin’ missiles aimed at competing DJs like " Set Yourself Up Jazzbo. " Top shelf: " Walk Right In, " a deft variation on Darrell Banks’s " Open the Door to Your Heart " and the Rooftop Singers ’60s folk hit, complete with banjo and horns.


Issue Date: April 26 - May 2, 2001

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