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Toots Hibbert of Toots and the Maytals Fame


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You will never know, Bonner, what it was like in the early-mid '70s, when reggae was first drifting over here from Jamaica.  This was several decades before Marley became the default Muzak of choice for frat boys who didn't do enough acid to be belated Deadheads (and none of us saw THAT coming -- either the mainstreaming of Marley, or the mainstreaming of the Dead).  Reggae was this weird, mysterious R&B variant (backed by this weird, mysterious religion).  There were all these bands and singers you'd never heard of, new ones popping up every week.  It was huge fun to sort them out.

By acclimation, early on, the Maytals were decided to be the Stones to the Wailers' Beatles.  But Toots, God bless him, couldn't keep it up for the long haul.  Nevertheless, his three big early singles -- "54-46 Was My Number", "Pressure Drop", and "Sweet and Dandy" -- are as good as pop music gets.  (And the live versions of Otis Redding's "I've Got Dreams to Remember" he did on his first U.S. tour were incandescent.)

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 I love Toots!  I had a nostalgia text thread.  We all worked for my family's garden design firm.  The only tape all of the high school kids and the hippie-ish adult supervision could agree on was Toots greatest hits.  It was our soundtrack.

I just unironically love that "Legend" article.

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The Dead must've seen it coming. And coming, and coming...

I'm trying to remember if I saw Toots - but I can't remember; what a surprise. But I saw Marley on a real early tour at the Beacon - it was fucking great. I had picked up (in my cab) the head of Island Records at the time -- I can't remember his name (what a surprise) - outside the Bottom Line, and I always had NEW on in the cab - and we talked, smoked a little, and he threw me a pair of great seats for the Marley show. Those were the days.

I have this 4 CD set called Songs of Freedom, which delves deeply into pre-Legend Marley. It's pretty wonderful.

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