A few years ago, I couldn’t get enough of The Harder They Come. It really might be the greatest reggae album of all time and one of the greatest collection of songs put together. And it achieves all of this without the help of the patron saint of reggae – Bob Marley- and under 40 minutes. And one song – “You Can Get It If You Really Want” is so good that it is included twice – in two (slightly) different versions. The song is defiant and hopeful while maintaing a groove that is sure to get you up on your feet.
The very under-rated (yet awesome) Toots & The Maytals deliver two of their best songs here – “Pressure Drop” and “Sweet and Dandy”. Both songs showcase a knack for groove and harmony that the Wailers never achieved. The absolute here on the album comes not so much in the form of reggae but rather gospel with Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers to Cross”. It rightfully deserves it places alongside such other classics as the Stone’s “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and the Beatles’ “Let it Be” as a song that brings hope and comfort in times of need.
If all you want a good introduction to reggae, you can’t get much that is better than this.