The Maytals

Toots and the Maytals, originally called simply The Maytals, are a Jamaican musical group and one of the best known ska and reggae vocal groups. According to Sandra Brennan at Allmusic, “The Maytals were key figures in reggae music. Formed in the early 1960s when ska was hot, the Maytals had a reputation for having strong, well-blended voices and a seldom-rivaled passion for their music. Frontman Hibbert’s soulful style led him to be compared to Otis Redding”.[1]
Contents [hide]
1 Career
2 Discography
2.1 Studio albums
2.2 Live albums
2.3 Compilation albums
2.4 Other Contributions
3 Contemporary usage
3.1 Covers
3.2 Samples
3.3 Soundtrack appearances
4 See also
5 References
6 External links
[edit]Career

Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, the frontman of the group, was born in May Pen, Clarendon, Jamaica in 1945, the youngest of seven children. He grew up singing gospel music in a church choir, and moved to Kingston in 1958 at the age of thirteen.
In Kingston, Hibbert met Henry “Raleigh” Gordon and Nathaniel “Jerry” Mathias, forming in 1961[2] a group whose early recordings were incorrectly attributed to ‘The Flames’ and ‘The Vikings’ in the UK by Island Records. The Maytals first had chart success recording for producer Clement “Coxsone” Dodd at Studio One. With musical backing from Dodd’s house band, The Skatalites, the Maytals’ close-harmony gospel singing ensured success, overshadowing Dodd’s other up-and-coming vocal group, The Wailers. After staying at Studio One for about two years, the group moved on to do sessions for Prince Buster before recording with Byron Lee in 1966.[1] With Lee, the Maytals won the first-ever Jamaican Independence Festival Popular Song Competition with their original song “Bam Bam” (later covered in a Dancehall style by Sister Nancy, and also by Yellowman in 1982).[1][3] However, the group’s musical career was interrupted in late 1966 when Hibbert was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months.[1] He stated that he was not arrested for ganja, but whilst bailing a friend.[4] He also stated that he made up the number 54-46 when writing “54-46 That’s My Number” about his time in jail.[5]
Following Hibbert’s release from jail towards the end of 1967, the Maytals began working with the Chinese Jamaican producer Leslie Kong, a collaboration which yielded a string of hits throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s.[1] These included “Do the Reggay”, one of several songs released in 1968 to first use the word ‘reggae’ (spelled ‘reggay’) in a Jamaican recording;[6] “Pressure Drop”; “54-46 That’s My Number” the 1969 Jamaica festival’s popular song winner; “Sweet and Dandy”;[7] and “Monkey Man”, the group’s first international hit in 1970.[1] By 1971, they had not only become the biggest act on the island, they were also (thanks to signing a recording contract with Chris Blackwell’s Island Records) international stars.[1] In 1972 they won their third Jamaica festival popular song with “Pomps and Pride”.[7] The group was also featured twice in the soundtrack to The Harder They Come, the 1972 film starring Jimmy Cliff, named as one of Vanity Fair’s Top 10 soundtracks of all time.
After Kong’s death in 1971, the group continued to record with Kong’s former sound engineer, Warrick Lyn. Their re-instated producer Byron Lee renamed them Toots & the Maytals.[1] The group released three best-selling albums produced by Lyn and Blackwell of Island Records, and enjoyed international hits with Funky Kingston in 1973 and Reggae Got Soul in 1975. Following the release of Reggae Got Soul, Toots & the Maytals were invited to tour as the opening act for The Who during their 1975-76 North American tour.[8] The tour went poorly and Toots & the Maytals never went on to the success of Bob Marley or Peter Tosh in the U.S.[9]
Toots and the Maytals’ compositions would be given a second airing in 1978-80 during the reggae punk and ska revival period in the UK, when The Specials included “Monkey Man” on their 1979 debut album and The Clash covered “Pressure Drop”. They were also included in the lyrics to Bob Marley & The Wailers song, “Punky Reggae Party” – “The Wailers will be there, The Damned, The Jam, The Clash, The Maytals will be there, Dr. Feelgood too”. In 1982, Toots & the Maytals’ “Beautiful Woman”, reached number one in New Zealand, but the group had already broken up.[1]
They reformed in the early 1990s to continue touring and recording successfully.[1]
In 2005, the group released True Love, an album consisting of re-recorded versions of their earlier hits, alongside Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Trey Anastasio, No Doubt, Ben Harper, The Roots, and Shaggy. The album won the Grammy Award that year for best reggae album.
In 2006, they recorded a reggae/ska version of Radiohead’s “Let Down” for the tribute album, Radiodread, by the Easy Star All-Stars. The album was a song for song makeover of the English rock band’s album OK Computer into reggae, dub and ska. In August 2007 Toots & the Maytals released Light Your Light, which featured re-workings of older songs such as “Johnny Cool Man”, as well as new material. The album was nominated in 2008 for a Grammy in the best reggae album category.
Toots & the Maytals hold the current record of number one hits in Jamaica, with a total of thirty one.[citation needed]
In March 2009 it was announced that Toots & the Maytals would be performing alongside Amy Winehouse, for their shared record label, Island Records’ 50th anniversary. Winehouse had covered the band’s “Monkey Man”, and the act were supposed to support her at the Shepherds Bush Empire in London on 31 May 2009.[10] However, Winehouse was forced to cancel, leaving the Maytals to play at the more intimate Bush Hall, round the corner from the Empire, to a sell-out crowd.
In the summer of 2009, Toots and the Maytals performed at the Mountain Jam festival at Hunter Mountain, New York.
On 8 July 2011, Toots and the Maytals played the Winnipeg Folk Festival to an outdoor dancing crowd of thousands.
In August 2011, Toots and the Maytals are due to appear at a small number of outdoor events, including Rhythm Festival[11]

The English Beat

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HISTORY

Formed in the working class suburbs of industrial Birmingham in England in 1978 The Beat arose at a time of high unemployment and social upheaval. From the outset the band offered messages of hope and peace with an insight into sociopolitical topics would later alongside The Specials see them heralded as forerunners of the whole 2-Tone Ska movement.

Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling led with vocal duties while Andy Cox and David Steele took guitar and bass duties with Everett Morton supplying the most distinctive of drumming styles. Added to this mix was the renowned saxophonist Saxa, adding the deliciously warm Jamaican ska instrumental flavour that is forever associated with the bands sound. Having played saxophone with Prince Buster, Laurel Aitken and Desmond Dekker in the first wave of ska The Beat on formation seemed to immediately come of age.

The Beat’s first single was the infectious cover of Smokey Robinson’s ‘Tears of A Clown’ which on release went straight into the National Top 10 at No.6. The record, an effortless like fusion between a number of different musical styles such as Ska, Punk, Pop, Soul and Reggae, immediately saw the band finding themselves an overnight success.

Further hit singles from the first album included ‘Mirror In The Bathroom’, ‘Can’t Get Used to Losing You’, ‘Hands Off… She’s Mine’ and ‘Best Friend’, and with a catalogue such as this it was easy to see why the The Beat would become one of the most popular recording and live acts in the UK.

Huge radio airplay followed in the US which saw The Beat head stateside and then further with world tours alongside some of the biggest performing artists such as The Clash, The Police, REM, Talking Heads, The Pretenders and of course The Specials.

While The Beat could deliver with what almost seemed effortless ease songs of Love, Peace and Unity. Songs such as ‘Stand Down Margaret’ saw them spearhead a movement wanting real social change and multicutural inclusion. The thousands that sang along in unison with the band at nuclear disarmament marches bear testament to the uplifting feeling the band could evoke with their musical swagger and genuine care for humanity.

After 3 Gold and Platinum top selling albums worldwide with ‘I Just Cant Stop It’, ‘Wh’appen’, and ‘Special Beat Service’ – The Beat’s musical fluidity and openess, delivered in their explosive all encompassing live shows allowed them to reach hundreds of thousands of fans across the world, communicating positivity and freedom through not only their music, but their actions and genuine commitment to causes.

Almost in reaction to the height of their fame The Beat to the disbelief of many disbanded with Ranking Roger and Dave Wakeling forming General Public with Mickey Billingham of Dexys Midnight Runners and Andy Cox and David Steele putting together the Fine Young Cannibals. Though both enjoyed phenomenal success, no other artist has sounded like The Beat or indeed is ever likely too. Ranking Roger also briefly joined Mick Jones’ post-Clash band Big Audio Dynamite injecting his toasting and vocal style that to this day remains his trademark.

After numerous offers to return to the stage The Beat returned in 2003 for a sell out show at The Royal Festival Hall with the inclusion of Ranking Jnr taking vocal duties to an accolade of critical acclaim. With Dave Wakeling heading to the US Ranking Roger alongside Everett Morton, Ranking Jnr and Mickey Billingham returned to their roots with deeper rhythms, a wall of sound that transcends time and an unwavering dedication to real unity and love that leaves the future still to be written, there can be no question…

…The Beat are back!

Skarmageddon

For the ska scene, the spectacular two-CD compilation Skarmageddon was proof positive that the third wave had swept across every corner of the country, and held out hope of it finally washing out into the mainstream. With zero interest from the majors, little hope of airplay outside one’s own locale, and only the brave (and foolhardy) touring the underbelly of clubs outside their region, only rumor and fanzines gave hint to what was happening elsewhere. Skarmageddon would change all that, helping to pull together a disparate scene and present a united face to the larger world. It was, however, not a partially representative selection of bands, nor was it by any means a best-of-the-scene compilation, although some extremely good bands can be found within. Instead it’s a snapshot of the times, intended as a leg up for bands that hadn’t yet or were just beginning to make an impact. Two years earlier, in 1992, Moon Ska had released the seminal California Ska-Quake set. No encores for those bands, however, as a new crew of two would now represent the Golden State.Those Mid-Westerners that had featured on Jump Up’s equally crucial 1993 American Skathiccompilation were luckier. Several would be picked up by Moon for Skarmageddon. And so the set trawled the States, pulling in bands from as far afield as Seattle, Portland, Maine, and Tampa, FL, with even a stray Canadian managing to sneak over the border and onto the set. Thirty-one bands in all, together providing a perfect primer for the vast variety of sounds to be found around the scene. And although the majority of the groups are 2 Tone-based (this is a Moon release after all), there’s plenty of spatters of skacore and trad to give a fair shake to the entire third wave scene. For some groups this was just the beginning, with a good number going on to then release stellar albums off the back of their performances here. For others, notably Agent 99, it was to prove to be their swan songs. Not a complete overview of ska circa 1994, but a thrilling ride through what was on offer, nonetheless, and remains a must-have set for every pork-pie-hatted fan. by Jo-Ann Greene