Toots and the Maytals were the most well-known reggae band of the sixties. From Jamaica their fame spread quickly to the UK and US. The Maytals mixed soul and gospel into the reggae formula to produce energetic, carefree music and socially conscious lyrics. If you never got to see them in the sixties or are a newer fan, you have to buy tickets to a Toots and the Maytals concert.
Toots and the Maytals is made up of Frederick 'Toots' Hibbert, Jerry Mathias, and Raleigh Gordon. Toots started by singing gospel choir songs as a boy and then moved on to Kingston in the sixties. The friends formed the Maytals and began to write their songs using Toots' gospel voice as a foreground and reggae beats in the background. The recipe really worked for their first album Hallelujah. The Maytals' live shows were a treat for locals, and they started to compare Toots' vocals to that of Otis Redding.
Lead man Hibbert was sent to prison for eighteen months for smoking ganja and there he honed his songwriting skills. The album the Maytals recorded after his release told the tale of his imprisonment and suggested the charges were trumped up and a result of his being a Rastafarian. The Maytals held strong to their soul and gospel roots in '54-46 That's My Number' and the album was a giant hit in Jamaica and in England.
Songs like 'Monkey Man,' 'Sweet and Dandy,' 'Broadway Jungle' and 'Dog War' are examples of Toots and the Maytals' mixed gospel/reggae sound and made them winners at Jamaica's Festival Song Competitions of 1966 and 1969. Now that they are returning to the big stage, you must get tickets to a Toots and the Maytals show. It is rare to get a second chance to experience a band as legendary as the Maytals, so don't pass this up.