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Album Review

While it may not pack the wallop of earlier efforts like Funky Kingston or even Reggae Got Soul, this 1981 release is a thoroughly enjoyable slice of crossover reggae. As always, lead singer Toots Hibbert's vocals are warm and satisfying, and the arrangements and production are clean and crisp without ever sounding slick. Most importantly, though, the songs are uniformly strong. Knock Out! is a great example of the type of excellent pop reggae that was being recorded in the early '80s, before being largely abandoned for a more homogenized, polished sound.

The album kicks off with the roots-inflected "Careless Ethiopians," a plea to Rastas who have gone astray. The Rasta-conscious themes continue on the slow groove of "Never Get Weary" and the rollicking "Revival Time."

Most of the album, though, is given over to more romantic subject matter. In fact, the remaining six tracks are all love songs in one form or another. The highlight of these is the country-inflected "Beautiful Woman," featuring pedal steel guitar. Elsewhere, Hibbert reaffirms his love of Otis Redding-style Southern soul with the gorgeous "Missing You."

Following the recording of the album, Hibbert and original Maytals Raleigh Gordon and Jerry Mathias parted company. Knock Out! stands as a fitting swan song for one of the all-time great reggae groups. Not to be missed. ~Jeffrey Konkel, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Awesome

One of my favorite albums of all time. Definitely underrated. You can listen the whole way through. Up there with Toots' Live album. Songs 2-4 are especially good

T.K.O.

What a great album. The production is real clean and alot of the tunes are catchy. Toots is definitely one of the best in Roots Reggae.

6 lbs. from Vava'u

There's a feelin to this album I just can't explain! It's been 5 to 10 yrs since I've listen to these songs and the effect is still there. It's like the more you listen to the songs the stronger the vibe. I highly recommend the album to anyone. enjoy!

Biography

Formed: 1966

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

While they never achieved the commercial success or cultural impact of the Wailers, Toots & the Maytals were nearly as important in the history of Jamaican music; like the Wailers, the Maytals thrived as ska gave way to rocksteady and then evolved into reggae, they boasted one of the island's finest singers and most charismatic frontmen in the great Toots Hibbert, and they worked with many of the most important producers and sidemen on the island. The Maytals were also the band that most clearly...
Full Bio

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