half a century on, Toots and the Maytals are still gigging

by DRW
(Jamaica)

Toots Hibbert formed the Maytals in 1961. On their 50th anniversary tour, he?s playing at a venue near you. Chris Salewicz salutes reggae?s prime mover.


A little over two years ago, at the tiny Bush Hall in West London, I saw one of the most riveting musical performances I have ever witnessed. It was by Jamaican singer Toots Hibbert, who had been chosen to close the 50th anniversary celebrations of Island Records, founded by his fellow islander Chris Blackwell.

It was long since Hibbert?s biggest UK chart hit, the Reggae Got Soul album in 1976, but picking him???still built like a boxer???for the show was perfect. In 1968, when his group the Maytals released their Do the Reggay tune???employing a characteristically Jamaican misspelling of the word ?reggae????it was the first record to use the term.

Should we be surprised that he was so in the vanguard of trends? Hardly. In the 1960s, the Maytals were the biggest group in Jamaica, working at first in the earlier forms of ska and rock steady, and eclipsing the upstart Wailers, among them Bob Marley, who were their main rivals.

For over two hours at Bush Hall, in an extraordinary controlled display of constant energy, the charismatic Jamaican vocal legend held the sweating crowd rapt, clearly not taking seriously his then-64 years. Time had not in the least diminished the gruff vocal strength that in the 1970s earned him the title of ?the Jamaican Otis Redding?.

Toots and a version of the Maytals???Jerry Matthias and Raleigh Gordon (the other pair of vocalists having departed long ago) were, earlier this year the subject of an excellent BBC4 documentary. He is presently embarking on his own 50th anniversary tour of Britain, celebrating his time enjoying a performing career.

Frederick ?Toots? Hibbert, born in 1945, was a native of May Penn, a town in the middle of Jamaica. He moved to Kingston, the capital, when he was 13, and learnt to be a barber. ?I make my little four-string guitar and people listen to it in the barber?s shop. One day Raleigh come down and say, ?Teach me how to sing.? I meet Jerry the next day, and we sit under a guinep tree, and everybody just start to sing. I teach them harmony. I teach them how to write song. And they teach me how to grow up.?

In 1961 they became The Maytals, a Rasta word, said Hibbert, meaning ?to do the right thing?. They recorded the song ?Rosemarie?, one of his first compositions, for King Edwards, a legendary soundsystem operator.

Almost immediately they moved to work with Coxsone Dodd, whose Studio One label nurtured most of Jamaica?s greatest musicians. They also recorded with Prince Buster, Duke Reid, and Mrs Pottinger, celebrated eminences grises of the local music scene. ?We don?t get no money really,? said Hibbert without complaint. ?In those days we get a pound or two pounds. Maybe five pounds. And we share it, the three of us. And it go on like that for a long time.?

Produced this time by Byron Lee, and sung to a galloping ska beat, some of this early material notably the classic ?Daddy, She Will Never Let Me Down? and ?It?s You????is on 1965?s The Sensational Maytals album, which is again available.

for more information please visit..www.high50.com

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Comments.

Let Us Help You Find Your Favorite Reggae Song

Are you searching for a Reggae Music Song, Dancehall Music Song, Ska or Rocksteady song but can find it anywhere?, Chances are we can.

It's very simple, just send us the name/titled of the song you are searching for and we will do the rest for a small fee. Contact us now!

Promote your Festivals, Albums, Singles, Videos, Parties and Dances with us and get the best results {CLICK HERE FOR PROMOTIONAL PACKAGES}

Promote your projects on Dancehallreggaeworld  Click here for more information

What's New? What is the very latest? Click here and get the very latest additions.

Looking For Something Special?  - In most cases, we have what you are looking for. Just search the entire site using this Google Search bar (below).

Your search results will appear in an overlay window.

Home I Reggae Lyrics I VideosDancehall Riddim I Dancheall Singles I Sound Effects I Whats New I Reggae Riddims

Articles On Dancehall Reggae World You Might Have Missed ......

You are welcome to join my special friends list and receive exclusive updates (like this) videos, breaking news, albums, new songs and promotions from players in the Dancehall and reggae music industries, send direct to your inbox.

You can also follow us for my updates! Link up @ Facebook |Twitter |Instagram

Promotions

Recent Articles

  1. Dancehall artist Masicka - Crab Inna Barrel Lyrics

    Apr 23, 18 04:26 PM

    Dancehall artist Masicka - Crab Inna Barrel Lyrics -

    Read More

  2. Dancehall artist Masicka Greatness Lyrics

    Apr 23, 18 04:13 PM

    Dancehall artist Masicka Greatness Lyrics

    Read More

  3. Dancehall artist Masicka - Ride lyrics

    Apr 23, 18 03:30 PM

    Dancehall artist Masicka - Ride lyrics - Pussy deh win yuh cyah lose Affi call back mi couldn't tek one and move Baby yuh got heaven innna yuh draws But when me see yuh hell bruck loose Love it when y…

    Read More

  4. Dancehall artist Masicka Drops New Single "Ride" For the Ladies

    Apr 23, 18 02:01 PM

    Dancehall artist Masicka Drops New Single "Ride" For the Ladies - Dancehall artist Masicka has just released another raunchy single for the ladies titled "Ride".

    Read More