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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Toots and the Maytals: legendary architects of reggae

Frederick "Toots" Hibbert founded the Maytals in the early 1960s in Kingston, Jamaica with Nathaniel "Jerry" Mathias and Raleigh Gordon. Together, they crafted some of the most important and influential songs in the history of reggae. The group’s 1968 single "Do the Reggay" is credited with giving the genre its name.

"Those days we'd just make stuff up. Anything. A bird flies around the corner, you write a song about it," says Hibbert. "So we just say 'Do the reggay, do the reggay,' and that's it. A few words, y'know? And nobody paid it any mind until it started to go all over the world. I saw it in the Guinness Book of Records. So I thank God that I did something good, and I didn't even plan it.

"There was the beat in Jamaica. Reggae was played long before I started singing. And there was a slang, like a nickname for someone who don't dress properly - like if you are barefoot, people would call you 'streggae.' They say, 'Hey, that guy is streggae, don't talk to him.' If a girl don't dress properly, like don't have on any top, they call her 'streggae.' So one morning, one Tuesday morning, we just said, 'Let's go along and do some reggae.'"

The Maytals disbanded in 1981 and Hibbert went on to work with producers Robbie Shakespeare and Sly Dunbar. Hibbert created a retooled Maytals in the early '90s and enjoyed a new surge in popularity with the 2004 release True Love. That album featured collaborations with artists like Keith Richards, Eric Clapton and Phish’s Trey Anastasio.

"All these different artists, we are friends," says Hibbert. "I feel their spirit, they feel my spirit. And a younger generation can feel our spirit. I learned that music is an endless thing, and it can modify and become huge."

The band recently won the 2005 Grammy award for reggae for the album True Love, an album consisting of re-recorded versions of their classics alongside popular and legendary musicians such as Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, and Keith Richards, as well as popular artists today such as No Doubt, Ben Harper, The Roots, and Shaggy.

In 2006, they recorded a reggae/ska version of Radiohead's "Let Down" for the tribute album, Radiodread, by the Easy Star All-Stars. The album is a complete song for song makeover of the English rock band's album OK Computer into reggae, dub and ska. Let Down has been frequently cited by reveiwers as one of the successes of the album.

Toots and the Maytals, legendary architects of reggae, performed for a sold-out crowd at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. Hear the full concert.


1. Intro (1.01)2. Pressure Drop (4.41)3. Do the Reggay (3.01)4. Still Movin' To Me (2.54)5. Time Tough (5.32)6. Reggae Got Soul (6.14)7. What Would You Do (3.14)8. Louis Louis (6:38)9. Love Has Been Good to Me (1:32)10. Sweet and Dandy (3:11)11. Funky Kingston (5:37)12. Bam Bam (5:13)13. Peeping Tom (2:13)14. Never Get Weary (6:47)15. True Love is Hard to Find (6:12)16. My Love is So Strong (3.54)17. Country Road (7:56)18. Spiritual Healing (5:46)19. Monkey Man (7:42)20. Announcer (1:18)21. Love Not Gonna Let Me Down (3:35)22. 54-46 (That's my number) (5:18)23. Band intros, outtro

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Blogger rethuzz said...

Link not working. :(

10:46 PM  
Blogger zazafromjohor said...

link fixed

1:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for this one zaza. Excellent recording of a great show, but a bit on the quiet side. Suggest boosting the volume by about 6db. The set and approximate times is:
1. Intro (1.01)
2. Pressure Drop (4.41)
3. Do the Reggay (3.01)
4. Still Movin' To Me (2.54)
5. Time Tough (5.32)
6. Reggae Got Soul (6.14)
7. What Would You Do (3.14)
8. Louis Louis (6:38)
9. Love Has Been Good to Me (1:32)
10. Sweet and Dandy (3:11)
11. Funky Kingston (5:37)
12. Bam Bam (5:13)
13. Peeping Tom (2:13)
14. Never Get Weary (6:47)
15. True Love is Hard to Find (6:12)
16. My Love is So Strong (3.54)
17. Country Road (7:56)
18. Spiritual Healing (5:46)
19. Monkey Man (7:42)
20. Announcer (1:18)
21. Love Not Gonna Let Me Down (3:35)
22. 54-46 (That's my number) (5:18)
23. Band intros, outtro

3:51 AM  
Blogger zazafromjohor said...

Thanks for this!!... Post been updated and brought forward..

10:36 AM  
Blogger Fabiano said...

Greeeeeeeeeeat release!

Brazilian Vibes!

Fabiano "MasterPepper"
Sao Paulo/Brazil

7:02 PM  

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