Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Big Youth: Rock Holy [Negusa Nagast, 1980]
Seeing Youth live gave me new insight into why they call it toasting--he's a toastmaster, a Rastafarian George Jessel, complete with carry-a-tune crooning, name-dropping tributes, and shuffle-off-to-Babylon stage routines. All of which were wonderful--the enthusiasm was that unmediated. His evolution into a roots Mr. Entertainment has changed his records, which now include songs. Not great songs, either, as I would say. But "Get On Up" is a great chant, "Bang Dibo" a great goof, "Many Moods of Big Youth" a great mélange, "We Can Work It Out" a great cover (by anybody). And he outsings Kurtis Blow. B+