Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Calling Rastafari [Nighthawk, 1982]
Produced in three days by a Jewish wheeler-dealer from St. Louis, this fundamentalist compilation--roots reggae as a music of militant religious homily--has an irresistible integrity. Its simple determination matches its singsong melodies and solid rhythms, and the singing is crucial: Culture's Joseph Hill hasn't sounded so impassioned since Two Sevens Clash, the Gladiators' Albert Griffiths outgroans Marley on "Small Axe," and the Itals' Keith Porter does "Herbs Pirate" so nice you'll settle for owning it twice. A-