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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

TOOTS AND THE MAYTALS

By TOM ORR
Published January 25, 2006

Live
Island/Universal

“Reggae Got Soul,” proclaims Toots Hibbert on one of this reissue’s added tracks, and never was it truer than in the case of Toots and the Maytals. By the time of this 1980 recording, many of their songs were already classics championed by British bands like the Clash and the Specials. In addition to coining the word for one of history’s most influential musical forms (on 1968’s “Do the Reggay”), Toots mashed it up in the ska, rock steady and reggae eras by flavoring his Jamaican riddims with R&B, gospel, blues, mento/calypso and a vocal style that never failed to rock the house. Live features Toots firing full throttle with his original harmony singers Raleigh Gordon and Jerry Mathias on signature scorchers like “Pressure Drop,” “Hallelujah” and “Time Tough,” working audience and band into a frenzy while testifying to the power of music like an in-the-spirit tent revival preacher. Drop this disc in and be prepared to get slain in that same spirit.