Toots is Gone, but The Maytals Carry On

Nathaniel "Jerry" Mathias, Frederick "Toots" Hibbert and Henry "Raleigh" Gordon

Despite the death of the Toots and the Maytals’ iconic leader, Toots Hibbert, the group will continue performing and, according to Jackie Jackson, the band’s bass player for the past 50 years, they are is preparing an album for release next year. 

According to reports, the band also plans to keep touring with a new singer, yet to be identified.

“Toots’ death does not mean the end of The Maytals, by no means at all. We are going on the road next year as soon as the (COVID-19) pandemic is over and I hope it goes the hell away as soon as possible,” Jackson said, according to the Jamaica Observer.

He added that the album will have 14 songs and The Maytals are currently in discussion with record companies about potential distribution. He did not reveal any of the labels but Jackson described the talks as promising.

Got to be Tough, Toots and The Maytals’ latest album, was released in August by Trojan Jamaica/BMG. It is currently on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart.

One of reggae’s greatest artists, Toots died on September 11 at age 77 at the University Hospital of the West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica from complications of COVID-19. He left a massive legacy of songs dating back to the Ska era of the early 1960s.

He was buried at National Heroes Park in Kingston on November 15. That location is the final resting place for National Hero and Pan African Marcus Garvey, several Jamaican prime ministers and singer Dennis Brown.

Seminal songs like “Bam Bam,” “Monkey Man,” “Pressure Drop,” “Funky Kingston” and “Sweet And Dandy,” kept Toots and The Maytals on the road for over 50 years.

Jackson, drummer Paul Douglas, guitarist Rad Bryan and keyboardist Charles Farqhuarson are stalwarts of the band. Jackson stressed the importance of honoring Toots’ music but maintaining The Maytals’ identity.

“We are not trying to duplicate what has been done. We are just having our own show and paying tribute to Toots, so the Maytals band will continue and we are looking forward to touring with a triple-platinum album,” he said.

 

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