Toots & The Maytals

The Very Best Of Toots & The Maytals

BY John F. ButlandPublished Sep 1, 2000

Toots Hibbert is a legendary pioneer of reggae, giving the genre its name with his 1968 single "Do The Reggay," but is often lost in the monumental shadows of Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. This compilation collects 19 of his best tracks from 1964 to 1984. Not only a reggae trailblazer, he was also a huge influence on the Clash - they covered his "Pressure Drop" and interpolated parts of "54-46 Was My Number" (included in two versions here) into their "Jail Guitar Doors." The first nine tracks are all early, pre-Island singles. They're raw and sweaty, but Toots' voice already had its trademark raspiness and the debt to James Brown and Otis Redding was also evident. "Pressure Drop," one of music's classic singles, reggae or otherwise, was the first track to bring Toots to the attention of those outside of Jamaica when it was included on the epochal The Harder They Come soundtrack. The torrid title track to his American debut LP, "Funky Kingston," may have been an even better track; it was certainly rawer. Also included is his original version of "Monkey Man." It's not as frantic as the Specials well-known cover, but it is funkier and more fluid. His Redding debt is paid in full with his version of Otis's "(I've Got) Dreams To Remember," from his Toots In Memphis LP. The only thing missing is his reggae-fied version of "(Take Me Home) Country Roads." Otherwise, this is a dandy one-disc compilation of one of reggae's best.

Latest Coverage