The Show Will Go on for The Maytals without Band Leader Toots

Jackie Johnson and Toots Hibbert of The Maytals

Jackie Jackson and Toots Hibbert after their final performance which took place in February 2020 at Magic City Casino in Miami with Billy Ocean.

by Howard Campbell

[KINGSTON, Jamaica] – The show will go on for The Maytals despite the death of Toots Hibbert, the band’s legendary leader who died in September.

Jackie Jackson, their bass player for 50 years, said the band has an album ready for release next year. They also plan 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 to hell away as soon as possible,” Jackson disclosed.

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 in 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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