Toots And The Maytals

 

Toots And The Maytals - That's My Number - Orange Street

All the big names in the reggae business have greatest hits sets out on a multitude on labels. With groups like Toots and The Maytals where do you start. Some think of them as a ska group, others a reggae group. This selection deals with there reggae output for producer Leslie Kong and is of great appeal to me. 19 tracks including massive hits like '54-46 That's My Number', 'Sweet And Dandy', 'Pressure Drop' and 'Monkey Man'. But once you add the lesser known gems like 'Bam Bam' and 'Bla Bla Bla' 'One Eye Enos' this set becomes truly essential. This music broke reggae music internationally - its the music at its very best.

The Maytals - From The Roots - Trojan - 1970

From the early days of the music right up to the mid-seventies The Maytals provided reggae music with yet another important strand essential to its very existance - Soul/Gospel. When Toots when into one, it was a very different type of anger to that of Bob Marley or Justin Hines. Just think of '54-46', no other reggae artist could have made that record - it was so intense. This album produced by Leslie Kong is a true reggae album and contains some truly amazing songs. All sung with that intensity.

Toots & the Maytals - Funky Kingston - Dragon - 1973

Three years down the line, the intensity was still there, but it was no longer matched by rhythms that were in step with the music. This album recorded at Dynamics and Island Studios in London and produced by Warwick Lyn, Chris Blackwell, and Dave Bloxham. And was very good in one way, being very well produced. Yet it was out of time. The Maytals had shown with songs like 'Screwface Underground' that they had adapted to the heavier rhythms. This album needed to have those heavier rhythms

Toots & The Maytals - In The Dark - Dragpn - 1974

Another big budget album, with some wonderful songs including the likes of 'Time Tough', 'Take A Look In The Mirror', 'Revolution' yet another cut of '54-46' here titled '54-36' and the title track of the album, which must one of the best songs Toots as ever wrote. Production on the album comes from Warrick Lyn, Neville Hinds and Carlton __e. And Athough in places it's a lot harder than 'Funky Kingston', on some tracks it' a lot softer. Dynamic Sounds isn't really the best place for Toots to be at this time.

Toots & The Maytals - Reggae Got Soul - Island - 1976

The mid-seventies reggae boom made it almost certain that Toots and The Maytals would once again renew their relationship with Island Records. 'Reggae Got Soul' was the result. This is the best set out of the lst three, even though like the last two soundwise, it's in a time warp. This time warp works well though. It's like they took the late sixties sound of reggae music and reworked it. 'Rasta Man', 'Premature' and one of The Maytals early hits 'Six And Seven Books' are the best tracks to be heard here.

The Maytals - Do The Reggae 66-70 - Attack - 1988

It was about time, Trojan, finally issued a Maytals compilation worthy of its name. On this LP you will find 16 great tracks from one of the all time great reggae vocal groups. Even though it can be argued that the Maytals were at their best in the Ska era, no one was better than them in the Reggae era, no one. They were the sound of reggae music. In the same way as Leslie Kong was the No.1 reggae producer of the era. He produced 15 of the tracks on then album. The only problem with the LP is the sound quality.

The Maytals Life Could Be A Dream - Studio One

If Coxsone Dodd could muster up more albums like this, instead of reissuing the same selection, 'Life Would Be A Dream'. All the tracks come from the ska era. Yet the attraction here is not music, as good as it is. It's those wonderful harmonies of Toots, Jerry and Raleigh. They can sing the most innocent sweet songs and make them sound so full and interesting. With regards to production Coxsone shows the full range of Ska styles. It's a shame the violinist present on some tracks, didn't get more work.