For those who don't want or can't afford to plonk out for the Toots & the Maytals' Time Tough: The Anthology, The Very Best Of provides the perfect solution, distilling down that two-CD, 41-track set to a single 19-song disc. There are a few subtle differences, however; for starters this set boasts two different versions of the band's reggae smash "54-46, That's My Number," as well as the original ska version of their Jamaican Song Festival winner "Bam Bam," unlike the anthology, which included only a later remodel. However, the "Never You Change" found on this set is not the trio's original ska hit, but a reggae-fied remake. The rest of the album pulls directly from the anthology, with the disc divided almost evenly between the trio and a solo Hibbert's pre- and post-Island career. Thus, for those who prefer the Maytals' ska and/or reggae hits, this is not the collection for you, as there are much better compilations of those periods. But for fans looking for a larger overview of both the band and Hibbert himself, this is an excellent place to start.
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 demonstrated the links between Jamaican sounds and American R&B (Hibbert's rich, emotive vocal style was informed by Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, and other soul icons), and the group's catalog contains a number of crucial, frequently covered tracks, most notably the classic "Pressure Drop."
Lascelles Perkins was one of the first stars of the Jamaican music scene. Studio One's leading balladeer and one of the most underrated singers from that time. Lascelles Perkins sang sentimental ballads and he scored massive local hits for Coxsone Dodd's Studio One label. Songs like 'Lonely Moments' and 'Together Forever' other big hits followed 'The Mighty Organ' song as a duet with Hortense Ellis, Alton Ellis' sister, 'Destiny' and a whole catalogue of standards or foreign songs as they were called. Lascelles could sing any song, make it seem effortless and at the same time address it in his own unique style.
ONE WAY GLASS is a very different kind of RPM compilation. Instead of the usual cross-section of Sixties collectables, this unique 3-CD set takes a fresh look at British music from the late 60s through to the mid-70s, with an eye on overlooked dancefloor-friendly finds. The rhythmic backbone of One Way Glass lies in Progressive Rock outfits who - every so often - would emulate their jazz heroes and record funky sides tucked away on albums or B-sides. Many of these tracks (Jonesy, Hardin & York) have been known to collectors of Funky Breaks for years.