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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Toots Hibbert goes R&B for latest album

For his group's new album, "Flip & Twist," Toots Hibbert of reggae icons Toots and the Maytals decided to indulge in something people have been telling him he should do for years.

"R&B from America influenced me," Hibbert said during a tour stop in Salt Lake City, mentioning Ray Charles, Al Green, James Brown and Aretha Franklin among the soulful singers who have shaped his sound. "I keep listening to these songs; people keep asking me, 'Why don't you do R&B? You sound like that.' So I decided I'm going to do some R&B on this album."
"Flip & Twist," with songs such as "Fool For You" and "Perfect Lover," sounds like it could be a collection of outtakes from the heyday of Green or Marvin Gaye circa 1972. Hibbert said he's had some of the ideas for these songs since the 1980s, with some even reaching back into the '70s.

Hibbert is certainly not abandoning reggae for R&B. He said reggae music is still going strong, though he's concerned that some modern reggae artists are veering away from the original positive vibe of the music that was born in his native Jamaica.
"A lot of people all over are doing negative music and calling it reggae, but it's not reggae," Hibbert said. "Our music will always have energy for the people."
He said fans of the Maytals' traditional reggae/ska sound need not fear that the soulful approach of the new album will change the live show; he said the band is still performing some of its old reggae favorites such as "Pressure Drop" and "Monkey Man."
Toots and the Maytals cover Stevie Wonder's "Higher Ground" on the new album, a tune that would be a natural to perform at the band's gig Monday night -- at Higher Ground in South Burlington.
"It's all ready," Hibbert said. "I'll have to play that, yes."

SOURCE: Burlington FreePress


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