As I prepare to head south for the sands and sun of Florida, what better mood setter than some legendary reggae? This is our first real encounter with reggae, unless we count yesterday’s Zeppelin attempt, which we probably should not. Starting us off, we have Toots and the Maytals, featuring reggae front-man legend Frederick “Toots” Hibbert. Their classic collection, “Funky Kingston”, is rated #344 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
As legendary and defining for the genre as Bob Marley was, it is important to hear other early influences in reggae, and Toots is high on that list. This album is a great mix of Toots originals and covers. “Time Tough” is a great opener, and “Funky Kingston” is probably the signature song of the album, in addition to being the title track. I also really love the closing song, “Sailin’ On”, which sends us off in anticipation of our next reggae serving. However, before we take that step, we have to celebrate two amazing covers on this album. Both of these tracks are living proof that pretty much any song can be performed with a Jamaican flavor. What reggae album would be complete with out “Louie Louie”, and as another amazing offering, we visit “West Jamaica” for a phenomenal version of “Country Road”. Yes.. the John Denver classic. Which reminds me, did I create this list without any John Denver?? If so, at least Toots has me covered here.
I love reggae music in general, and always as mood music when I’m staring at the ocean, which I will be soon. Much more to come, sooner rather than later most likely, but enjoy this album and the place this music will take you.