Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Mutabaruka: The Ultimate Collection [Shanachie, 1996]
In which a health-food nut whose definitive album is a decade behind him reconstitutes himself as a people's prophet who has problems with ice cream. Only four of the 16 tracks, including the unanswerable spoken "Dis Poem," are from The Mystery Unfolds; there are just as many nonalbum singles, plus several worthy remixes and a live "Witeman Country." Muta's wisdom and humor greatly exceed the Rasta norm, and since he's always been dub poetry's most musical performer, the working peace he's negotiated with dancehall is no surprise. The surprise is how coherent and compelling his best music seems when it's gathered in one place awaiting humanity's attention and respect. A