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Toots and the Maytals
TRUE LOVE
(V2)
Stars graphics

Musicians donít usually take part in tribute albums for which theyíre the tributees, so itís a little strange to hear Jamaican legends Toots and the Maytals joining up with 20 other artists, from the Skatalites and Marcia Griffiths to Willie Nelson and Keith Richards, for a set made up principally of their own í60s and í70s classics. Then again, if anyone deserves to benefit from breaking with standard tribute-album protocol, itís Frederick "Toots" Hibbert, one of reggaeís undisputed all-time greats (he even gave the style its name on 1968ís "Do the Reggay"). And as True Love shows, no one can do Toots like Toots; he may be pushing 60, but his voice is as pungently soulful as ever.

His celebrity collaborators donít always measure up. The duet with Nelson on "Still Is Still Moving to Me" falls flat, and Eric Claptonís wah-wah solos on "Pressure Drop" and "Take a Trip" only clutter the songs. But the pleasant surprises ó a barnstorming "Monkey Man" with No Doubt; a deliciously loose "Funky Kingston" with Bootsy Collins and the Roots ó outweigh the disappointments. Even if this isnít quite prime Maytals, itís still, to quote another Toots title, sweet and dandy.

BY MAC RANDALL


Issue Date: April 16 - 22, 2004
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