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Light Your Light

Toots & The Maytals

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Album Review

There are, of course, no Maytals in Toots & the Maytals (the actual group broke up in 1981), and it's all just Toots Hibbert these days, which is fine, really, since his gospel and Memphis soul-inflected vocals have made Toots one of the most explosive and exciting performers ever to come out of Jamaica. Light Your Light was produced by Toots in conjunction with with Zadig, but unlike 2004's duets album True Love (produced by Richard Feldman, who mixed this one), which diffused Toots' powerful presence with a succession of rock star partners, this time out Toots is completely center stage (which is always a good thing). True, slide guitarist Derek Trucks is featured on the lead track, a reworking of Toots' 1970s-era "Johnny Coolman," but he wisely works the tune instead of trying to steal it. Bonnie Raitt turns up on the second track, again a re-record, this time of the poignant "Premature," Toots' cautionary tale about early pregnancy, and again Raitt lets the song lead things. Everything else is all Toots Hibbert, including a fine cover of Otis Redding's "Pain in My Heart," a bouncing "Celia" (featuring Toots' son Hopeton on bass and legendary island drummer Leroy "Horsemouth" Wallace), a version of Ray Charles' "I Got a Woman" (as "I Gotta Woman"), and the track that will probably get the most attention here, a tribute to the immortal Skatalites and to Studio One producer Coxsone Dodd called "Tribute to Coxson/Guns of Navarone" that features sax from Dean Fraser. In all, Light Your Light is a much better affair than the ill-advised True Love, with a clean, clear, and bright sound — and then, of course, the vocal work of the remarkable Toots Hibbert, who just might be the most powerful singer Jamaica has ever produced. Light Your Light doesn't take things back to the glory days, but it doesn't embarrass, either, and shows that this remarkable performer still has plenty of gas in his tank and hopefully many more miles (and albums) to go.

Customer Reviews

Good as ever

Great new album from Toots & The Maytals. It has a very relaxing quality and mature sound to it. Toots Hibbert's voice never ceases to amaze me. There are a few good tracks including a well done remake of Guns of Navarone.

LOVE TOOTS!!!!!!

This is a fantastic album! It has the classic Toots feel to it. High energy songs mixed with the occasional cool easy listening tracks. BUY THIS!!! and if you have a chance to see them in concert, you have to go! Talk about an amazing show. They definitely bring their A game to the performance. Lots of Fun!!!

Love it!

Beautiful, feel good album. Enjoyable again and again!

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