Wednesday, 20 June 2018

Toots & The Maytals - Reggae Greats

  

While Bob Marley is obviously the Jamaican artist that everybody speaks of first, in reverential tones, respect must be given to Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, who is truly one if the great soulful reggae voices.

A mixture of middleweight boxer meets revivalist preacher, he has a gravelly, rough voice but also an intuitive vocal timing that could command a tune from beginning to end. Need evidence? Just listen to his classic “54-46 Was My Number”. He masters it enough on the original cut, but performed live, it becomes a tour de force, which is quite apt, as Toots is a force of nature.

The upbeat ska-ish rock steady beat of “Pressure Drop” is just simply exhilarating as is “Monkey Man”. These are copper-bottomed classics of late 60s/early 70s reggae. Toots’s churchy growl just making them something really special. Other highlights are the catchy “Time Tough”; the gospelly fun tale of a Caribbean wedding that is “Sweet And Dandy”; the punchy reggae funk of “Funky Kingston” and Toots’ reggae take on John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads”, with its “almost heaven - West Jamaica” opening lyric.

This is a more than acceptable introduction to this legendary reggae voice.

B+

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