Toots and the Maytals were huge in the ’60s and are still huge as we head into the year 2020. Known as one of the pioneers of Jamaican music, whether it be Ska, Rocksteady, or Reggae, Hibbert and company have made major contributions to the culture. His 1968 hit “Do the Reggae” was the first song in history to use the term “Reggae.” This would explain the reason for the inclusion of Toots and Maytals in any conversation relating to the progression of Jamaican music. Toots and the Maytals ran riot with songs like “Bam Bam,” “Sweet and Dandy,” and also “Monkey Man,” cementing their spot in history.
One would think they were finished, but that idea hasn’t resonated with Toots. In 2019 Toots and the Maytals have signed a record deal with the Trojan Jamaica label. The record label, which was started in February 2019, was created by Zak Starkey, an accomplished musician who has worked with The Who, Oasis and Johnny Mar and the Healers, and partnered by Australian born artiste and musician SSHH. Toots seems to be over the moon with this new development.
“It feels great to be recording my brand new songs for the latest Toots and the Maytals album with the new Trojan Jamaica label,” Hibbert told the Gleaner. “We are very in sync and making a great record. I look forward to a long musical friendship with Zak and SSHH.” His enthusiasm is also shared by the label’s creators, Starkey and SSHH, who waxed lyrical about Toots and his body of work.
“In early 2014, we were so deeply into Toots and the Maytals that we traveled to Jamaica hoping to find Toots,” Starkey and SSHH stated. “Luckily, after asking around, we found him playing an acoustic show in Kingston as a warm-up for his world tour. It was a great show, and we got to meet afterward. Our friendship and admiration for the creator of reggae has continued to this day, and it is an honor to be a part of this album of brand-new Toots songs,” the record label executives said.
Both parties seem to be really excited about this project, which is to be released in 2020, and so are we. Who would have imagined new music from Toots and the Maytals in 2020? As the old saying goes, “when life gives you lemonade drink it.” If proverbs are to be heeded, that means I will definitely be itching to listen to one of Jamaica’s greats as his music ages like wine. Bring it on Toots and The Maytals!