Ahead of the Christmas Reggae knees up it’s time for an absolutely legendary artist. Toots Hibbert is still in magnificent voice and great physical shape (even if his approach to start times is, occasionally, somewhat flexible!). The Maytals back catalogue is solid gold all the way, 35 of the best would be no challenge at all. However we have rules round these parts, so here are 5 of the best, (and an extra one, obvs).
The Maytals with Byron Lee & The Dragonaires – Bam Bam (1966)
The Maytals – Never Grow Old (1964)
This is an absolute beauty and title track from the debut album, showcasing a purer ska sound (the Maytals of course were one of the first acts to use the term Reggae, on the excellent “Do The Reggay” in 1968):
Toots & The Maytals – Pomp & Pride (1972)
This live favourite was first released as a single in 1972 and then also featured on the excellent 1973 Funky Kingston album.
Toots & The Maytals – Reggae Got Soul (1975)
Or to put it another way Dub got Funk, a song, along with quite a few others that signals the deep seated connections between funk & soul music and ska & reggae music. We called the ourselves Funkdub when we first started as these two musical traditions are the pillars that support pretty much all the music we play. Toots has soul influence permeating throughout his music, perhaps the most notable example being the mighty Funky Kingston, as well the also excellent Funky Funky. However we’ve gone for this track, it was great fun when 3DJ dropped the Hiphoppapotamus remix at Positive Vibration, (that remix sadly not available on you tube), the original is, of course, a smasher:
Toots & The Maytals – Pressure Drop (1969)
Quite simply a list of Toots tracks must include this one. If this track doesn’t induce tears of joy at one stage or another, then you must have run out of eye water, absolutely perfect:
Always Room For One More
No Toots list would be complete without the legendary track named after his number when he spent some time behind bars. As is often the way with Reggae music there is more than one version, and the Turntable Dubbers Remix, has been a Funkdub regular for a long time. Either way Toots & The Maytals – 54-46 Was My Number (1968) never quits: