Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Ram Dancehall [Mango, 1989]
I expected more of our former finest reggae label, though Jamaica hasn't been its strength since it turned into one of our three finest African labels. Anyway, these selections are just a little too subtle (the way Johnny P.'s "Ring a Roses" finally gets you going, the synthpan intro on Cocotea's "Bad Love Affair" that doesn't return often enough to act as a hook) or second-drawer (Tiger's "Never Let Go" rather than his supposed title cut, Brian and Tony Gold's "Maniac" rather than Michael Sembello's). Manhattan Special: Admiral Tibet's "Mad Man." B