Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Toots and the Maytals: Got to Be Tough [Trojan Jamaica, 2020]
Label owner and former Who/Oasis drummer Zak Starkey--who with Sly Dunbar on hand plays guitar here--financed what he didn't know would be a farewell salute from the eternal second banana of first-wave reggae. But when an artist has a bunch of good new songs ready as he pushes 80, now is always the time. What I like about these and Starkey must have too is how conscious they are. Having long favored danceable love songs, he spends most these 36 minutes looking time tough in its ugly face. "Just Brutal," "Warning Warning," and "Got to Be Tough"; bus fares, low wages, invisible pensions, and picking yourself up off the ground. But he's also proud to stand accused for feeding his enemies. A-