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With “reggae does Dylan” on the horizon, True Love gives roots veteran Toots Hibbert the Sinatra Duets treatment. Toots is deserving, and the impulse not entirely misguided (see Bonnie Raitt and Willie Nelson). Still, we’re saddled with abortive pairings, such as Ryan Adams’s latest lifeless attempt to cotton to a new genre without examining his own self. And yes, it was inevitable that Gwen Stefani would come a-knockin’ (probably in special platinum dread weave ), but pairing old coot with young titty or giving a colored artist the “Hendrix treatment” should mostly be resisted when trying to preserve a legacy.
Other than Bootsy’s great, quickening “Funky Kingston” assisted by the Roots, remakes here—including “Sweet and Dandy” (with Trey Anastasio) and “Pressure Drop” (Clapton couldn’t stay away)—don’t improve on classics. Such worthy collaborators as Marcia Griffiths, Bunny Wailer, and Keith Richards sketch the glory True Love could have been. Remix, keep Keef as the token outsider, and dig deeper to a place we can all feel irie.