(GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass.) – Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, the reggae pioneer who verily coined the genre itself, brings the 50th anniversary tour of his Jamaican outfit, Toots and the Maytals, to the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington on Sunday, November 4, 2012, at 7pm for an “unplugged acoustic concert.”
Earlier this year, the Maytals released their first-ever acoustic album, “Unplugged on Strawberry Hill,” in honor of Jamaica’s 50th anniversary of independence. The 10-track album includes unplugged versions of the Maytals’ greatest hits. Strawberry Hill is the property of Chris Blackwell, the record label honcho responsible for Island Records and in large part for popularizing reggae beyond the shores of Jamaica.
Toots Hibbert is one of the great voices of Jamaica; his career spans every development in Jamaican music, from ska through rock-steady to reggae. Toots and the Maytals have helped to chart the course of Jamaican music with unrivaled delivery and dynamism, setting new standards of excellence, and becoming the most enduring of all Jamaica’s groups. Toots and The Maytals (initially just The Maytals) have been working together since the 1960s and are even credited with having coined the term reggae on their 1968 single “Do The Reggay.”
As made explicit on his album, “Toots in Memphis” (in case some didn’t catch on from earlier titles including “Reggae Got Soul” and “Funky Kingston”), Toots Hibbert’s approach to Jamaican music combined the native sounds rock steady with American soul. Toots and the Maytals are also responsible for such reggae and ska standards as “Pressure Drop” (famously covered by the Clash) and “Monkey Man” (revived by the Specials).
The band won the 2005 Grammy award for best reggae album, True Love, an album consisting of re-recorded versions of their classics alongside popular and legendary musicians such as Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Eric Clapton, and Keith Richards, as well as popular artists today such as No Doubt, Ben Harper, The Roots, and Shaggy.
Toots and the Maytals remains a relevant influence on today’s global music scene with artists from Amy Winehouse to Sublime re-recording classic tracks. Toots received another Grammy nomination for his 2008 release Light Your Light. In recent years, Toots has toured with The Rolling Stones, Dave Matthews, Sheryl Crow, and Los Lonely Boys.