Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

The "King" Kong Compilation [Mango, 1981]
Greil Marcus compares the late Leslie Kong to Sam Phillips, and as the man who turned ska into reggae he deserves the accolade, but it was already 1969 in the global village by then, so it's no surprise that there's a Jerry Wexler (not Berry Gordy) sophistication to his sound. And Impressions/Temptations/Cooke soulfulness pervades these sixteen tunes as well, although their fervor is more innocent and their sheer chops are less brilliant. None of the less familiar tracks is up to those you know (and perhaps own) by the Maytals, Desmond Dekker, and the Melodians, but Tyrone Evans's newly uncanned "Let Them Talk" and the Pioneers' "Samfie Man" come close. A-