Toots and the Maytals: Reggae Got Soul


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Toots and the Maytals: Reggae Got Soul

Film telling the story of one of the most influential artists to come out of Jamaica, Toots Hibbert, featuring performances, rare archive and interviews with contemporaries.


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People say I'm great. I don't think I'm great but they call me great.

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He is the foundation, he is the root.

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One of the artists from Jamaica's first waters.

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It's a combination of everything that makes you who you are.

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He's a great talent a good singer a good writer, good performer.

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Toots got that voice.

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It's totally his and there's no-one else can touch that.

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That is his blessing.

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He's an amazing character.

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He doesn't quite fit into the reggae mould. I mean, he's got a soul thing

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on him. Sometimes I used to think it was Otis Redding singing.

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# Time tough

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# Time tough Everything is out of sight

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# So hot, so hot, so hot

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-# Time tough

-Time tough

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# Everything is going higher and higher... #

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He stands up

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with any one of the great, you know,

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with James Brown, Otis Redding, any one of the great American singers.

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I think the reason Toots resonates so much with the rest of the world,

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and especially in America,

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is he is just a badass soul singer.

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# Playing from east to west now I just played from north to south

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# I love black America

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# People keep on asking me for Funky Kinston

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# But I ain't got none... #

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People choose music, music choose some.

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And Toots is one of them music choose.

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There's a light, you know, a light.

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He's like a light and a joyfulness, and a happiness, positive.

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I didn't really stop moving the whole time, I couldn't stop smiling,

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you know, he gets through to you.

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He has an incredible

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energy that projects on stage and an incredible kind of excitement.

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I live to sing,

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because I have to sing.

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# And the reggae got soul Soul, soul, soul, soul

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# And the reggae got soul Soul, soul, soul, soul... #

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I found some words in a British encyclopaedia

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that sum him up that I'd like to share with you.

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"No artist ever painted a broader and truer canvas of daily life in Jamaica than Toots.

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"The full blooded celebrations of Sweet And Dandy, the screaming cry against injustice in 54-46,

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"the harsh strains of ghetto live in Pressure Drop,

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"the sheer exuberance of first love in It's You,

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"the happy companionship of Never You Change, the ever-present threat of violence described in Bam-Bam."

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That's Toots.

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# You got to believe every word I say

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# You got to believe everything I do

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# I said the music is what I've got to give

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# Got to find some way to make it

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# Music is what I've got

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# And want you to come on and Do that funky reggae with me... #

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He sang about his experience.

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He sang about his life.

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You know, everything that's happening in his life.

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And I think that's what made him to be a cut above the rest, you know. Like a Bob Marley.

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He was easily the biggest act in Jamaica,

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right through until, in a way, Bob started to

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catch the attention.

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But up until that point Toots was the biggest.

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And it's not that he dropped out then,

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it was just Bob came and widened it.

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But Toots was the biggest and Toots, here he is today.

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Right, you know, he's still huge. I don't know, there's nobody bigger than Toots today.

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Toots is one of the last living members of the Pantheon of the greats, the immortals,

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the people who were there before there was a there.

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Toots is great, my father is great, all of them great, to me.

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There is none that is higher than another one. More popular, yes.

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But to me, as a youth and as a person that grew up in the music

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and grew up with my father and with Toots, the people they are

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don't lend to that ideology of comparison. You know, that's not who they are.

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So I don't look at them like that, I look at them as who they are,

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and them as players on a football team each playing them role.

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After Jamaica got its independence from Britain,

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it was a sense of celebration,

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even though the masses did not really understood

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what is independence. So the music was very upbeat.

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And it was named ska.

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That is the first time that there was music which was really produced for

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the people, for the simple people in Jamaica.

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At the time, the radio didn't play our music.

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The more affluent people in Jamaica, they would be buying American music.

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In 1962, the biggest selling record in Jamaica, believe it or not, was The Student Prince, by Mario Lanza.

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So you go to a sound system operator

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to get your song recorded.

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The Jamaica sound system was... the speakers,

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the box that the sound comes out of,

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was like six foot tall and three foot wide

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with a lot of heavy speakers in it.

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The sound system is really a forerunner of the disco,

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in that you had a group of very enterprising men who saw

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the need to provide entertainment for the masses on weekends.

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Every Friday, Saturday night,

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you know, on all corners, all over Kingston and the country parts,

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there'd be these sound system dances and that's really how

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the whole music, Jamaican music, emerged, from that.

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It didn't really emerge as...

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in most countries, where music emerged, which was from bands playing in clubs.

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It was sound systems that were playing records.

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# Yeah, baby

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# Push it out, push it out now Push it out, push it out now

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# Push it out, push it out now

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# Push it out, push it out now

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# Push it out, push it out now Push it out, push it out now

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# Push it out, push it out now

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# You don't know You don't know, you don't know... #

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The Maytals, as a group, started in 1963.

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Unlike the Wailers, which had three lead singers capable of writing their own material

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and fronting their own bands, The Maytals didn't seem to have that.

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But they were exquisite together.

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At that time the, The Maytals, which was only three guys -

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Toots, Raleigh and Jerry - they were local heroes, you know?

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I've never heard anything quite like it because there was an energy

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and an excitement to the records which were just extraordinary.

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And they were raw-sounding, raw and exciting.

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-# You're treating me bad

-Why you treating me so bad?

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-# You're treating me cruel

-Why you treating me so cruel...? #

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Toots' voice is one of, you know, the great musical gifts of our time.

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You know, this is somebody who can't open his mouth

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without doing something interesting.

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Toots was the main man, with that talent, you know,

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doing all the lead singing and writing and you know.

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The other two brothers, they were doing harmonies for most of the songs that Toots were doing,

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but they were very important because it made their contribution in their own little way.

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You know, but Toots will always stand up on his own.

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The thing with Toots is that he's the kind of hero

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of the common man in Jamaica.

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His songs relate to the common man

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and they're simple but brilliant at the same time.

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Like when him and I would go into a restaurant,

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all the people come up and they just want to shake his hand.

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He's like their friend, their brother.

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I grew up in Clarendon, May Pen,

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in Treadlight district.

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And it's five miles from my home to school.

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Every morning, I walk five miles from my home to school.

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You go straight up the road, you get to the first hill, the first hill, and you make a little

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turn, you see a gas place on your left and that's the street, you can stop right there and ask for Toots.

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I grew up knowing that my father has 14 children but I'm the last one.

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Yeah.

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And when there's Christmas time I remember that he always kill two cows,

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two pigs, and give it to neighbours who don't have anything.

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So I grew up loving people, I go to school, I give everyone my lunch money to help other

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people and to kids that don't have any lunch money, I grew up that way.

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So I go doing good things in my government prep school,

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which is so accepted to me in my life.

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# Daddy, tell my mummy for me

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# Won't you tell her now, yeah Tell her that I'm right here

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# I'm longing to see my mummy And the rest of my family

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# I would love to tell my ma how much I love her

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# And I love her till the end of time

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# Once I was away Far, far from my home

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# I didn't know to go back home

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# And one night as I wake up

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# I could see clearly that day was nowhere in sight... #

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I was little, maybe eight, when Mum passed.

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I was about 14, 16, when my father passed.

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But the Lord gave me the power to overcome all those infirmities, that they were on me.

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And having my mum, my daddy in my mind, that if I honoured them,

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my life will be extended.

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I keep on doing that.

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Honour your mum and your father that your days will be long

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upon this land, that they will all god giveth thee.

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God is good. God is great. Let us thank Him for our food, Amen.

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When you go to class you sing about God,

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you recite the Bible before class started.

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It was such a respect to the teachers,

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pupils and everybody in my school, in that class.

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And I grew up listening to these words.

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The gospel is in Daddy, it is who he is.

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When he sings a note, it comes from his soul, his spirit.

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He doesn't just

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sing without meaning.

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He sings with meaning, and that is what the Gospel is all about.

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The Gospel is what

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is in the R&B, is in reggae, is in ska, is in everything, the Gospel.

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You have to make it feel that way.

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And that's how it gets positive.

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# Spiritual healing

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# So good It's good for your bad feeling... #

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It carry the spiritual side of African people, when they were brought here as slaves.

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So that our spirit, our music...

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We can't help it, actually, it's in the gene.

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It's in that gene that all of us who born in Jamaica or come from Jamaica, it's in us.

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The first time I sing is in church, and my parents took me to the church with them.

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It was a clapping church, you know, salvation church.

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And I...

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grew up loving church. We'd sing about good things at all times.

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# Open your heart, so wide

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# Let love come running in

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# Believe me

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# If you have that love in your life... #

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I think that whole tradition

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of the overlap of gospel and soul

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is absolutely the truth in Toots' music.

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When he starts to sing the place lights up so he's a revivalist, to revive you, hey.

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That was the thing.

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# Reggae got soul

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# Got so much soul... #

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You know? That's really a revival, so you could just use a tambourine and you just...

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So that part of the spiritual era, the revival thing,

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with whatever church it was, Toots really had that naturally.

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He's in the Church of Toots.

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I think the first song that I heard, which was so riveting, was in 1963,

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Six And Seven Books Of Moses.

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Which, really, it's a ska tune but it's more a revival tune.

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So you've got that kind of intensity that was typical of Toots.

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# You are Genesis and Exodus

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# Leviticus and Numbers

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# Deuteronomy and Joshua Judges and Ruth

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# For the sixth and seventh books They wrote them all... #

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They are love songs, unto God, and to the people, to the children.

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You know that kind of gospel that the you see in preaching,

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that rejoicefulness in

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what he's saying and that belief, and that want

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to let people hear it and trying to influence what they think.

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# She took my pants Took my shirt, took my pillows too

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# She took my shoes Took my socks, took my, oh

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# Everything that is necessary

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# She's gone with everything Yeah, Celia... #

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When Toots sings he seems to be

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reading from his daily journal.

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It's his diary, it's the story of the people he was raised among out in the country.

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# Oh, Celia, oh Celia, Celia, Celia... #

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Toots does write, you know, what you might consider to be postcards from

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Jamaica, letters from a life lived in a particular place.

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# I got a woman

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# In Trenchtown

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# That's good to me

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# Oh, yeah

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# I got a woman

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# Living in Trenchtown

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# That's good to me Whoa, yeah

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# She gives me money

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# When I'm in need

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# Yeah, she's the kind of

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# Friend I need

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# I got a woman

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# Living in Trenchtown

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# Who's good to me

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# Oh, yeah. #

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I am a country guy, I don't know much about Kingston.

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I know more about the country

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and more about the ghetto,

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but,

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in those days ghetto was happy,

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like Trenchtown.

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So, coming from country

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to live in Trenchtown, it wasn't like this.

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It's changed so much that it's really different.

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This used to be a theatre, it used to be Queen's Theatre, that all of us come and sing at this theatre

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to make our name.

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When I'd just come from country, we'd come to this theatre,

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and it's nice in there, very big.

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This is where, if you have a good summer, you can sing.

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If you get a clap here, people clap down here for you, you will be number one.

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But if you come here and you don't get no clap,

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go back home. Go back

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to your country. Nothing's going to happen for you.

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You got the market here, you get things very cheap here in Redemption Market.

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Oh, Lord,

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a fella family go there man and,

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he have five shillings and you come away with a lot of things, and have money leave in your pocket.

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With five shillings.

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# Yeah, listen

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# Almost heaven

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# West Jamaica

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# True ridge mountains

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# Shining down the river

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# All my friends there

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# Holding on those ridge... #

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Yeah, man. Rastafari.

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# Country roads

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# Take me home

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# To the place

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# I belong

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# West Jamaica

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# My momma

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# Take me home

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# Country roads. #

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I grew up listening to Ray Charles on the radio, Wilson Pickett, ah,

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James Brown,

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Mahalia Jackson, Elvis Presley, um...

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You name it, man, a lot of...

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Otis Redding, a lot of great people.

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# Why I'll say, if you have that loving

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# If you have that loving

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# If you have that loving

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# In your heart

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# You will feel so good

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# You will feel so happy

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# If you have that loving

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# In your heart... #

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Toots was more to me like an

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R&B soul singer. His voice, his approach, was more soulful.

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For me, Toots is a soul singer,

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and in a sense there wasn't a great deal of that going on in reggae.

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He took a quite different approach from the others.

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# You fight against the king You fight against the god

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# You fight against the scripture You fight against yourself

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# I say, you call for a change

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# You call for a change

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# Even right now

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# Come, my brother... #

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When I heard Toots,

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it's right away, it hit me

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right away in my mind, because this kind of music is what I love.

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Probably because Toots was from the country,

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so he was probably known as a country guy,

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and he does things and says things differently.

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The Maytals were the first winners

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of the Jamaica Festival Song Competition.

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The Jamaican Song Festivals really came in in 1966,

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and songs would be entered into a competition,

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and so, you know, Toots won with Bam-Bam in '66.

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Those days, some artists that was taking part in the festival

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bring bus loads of people to cheer for them.

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But I didn't have the money to pay no busload of people.

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But when I sing my song, the people that they bring to cheer them, they cheered me, end up cheering me!

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# Ba-ba, bam bam I-I-I

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# I want you to know That I am the man who

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# Fight for the right Not for the wrong

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# Going there, I'm going there

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# Helping the weak against the strong

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# Soon you will find out the man I'm supposed to be

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# I-I-I... #

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After Toots won the...the first Festival Song Contest,

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he entered again and won with Sweet And Dandy.

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And then he made us enter again and won with Pomps And Pride,

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and then after that he said, "Oh, Lord...let's give somebody else a chance."

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He just had a little...just had a little catchy word or catchy phrase

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that everybody liked.

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Like Sweet And Dandy.

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Sweet And Dandy, where it's this young man and it's his wedding day,

0:26:100:26:14

and he's having the fear of getting married - that's what the song is all about -

0:26:140:26:17

and then he says, you know, his uncle tells him to hold his head up and not act like

0:26:170:26:21

it's not time for his wedding day, and then all the people,

0:26:210:26:24

them dress up in a way to come eat wedding cake.

0:26:240:26:27

You know, it's the whole story of the scene of a marriage.

0:26:270:26:30

He's speaking to issues of love and issues of, you know, going out and expressing yourself.

0:26:300:26:36

I mean, his songs are definitely reflections of his own life,

0:26:360:26:40

and the fact that they're not political is kind of significant.

0:26:400:26:44

He is not what you would call a political singer,

0:26:440:26:48

although a lot of his music has political implications.

0:26:480:26:50

Think of Sweet And Dandy, this kind of randy song about a wedding that hundreds of

0:26:500:26:55

people are crashing, and there's only a little bit of cake and they all want a piece of cake,

0:26:550:27:00

and they all want some cola wine, and the guy has no money, who's putting on

0:27:000:27:05

the wedding, and the groom is, you know, crying in his bedroom.

0:27:050:27:10

It's about the social situation of living in utter and complete

0:27:100:27:14

destitute poverty, and he puts a smile on your face while you're singing about it.

0:27:140:27:19

# One pound ten for the wedding cake

0:27:190:27:22

# And plenty bottle of cola wine

0:27:220:27:25

# All the people Them dress up in a white

0:27:250:27:27

# For go eat out Johnson wedding cake

0:27:270:27:30

# It's no wonder

0:27:300:27:31

# He's a perfect partner

0:27:310:27:34

# While they were dancing in that bar room last night, yeah

0:27:340:27:39

# And they were sweet and dandy Sweet and dandy, sweet and dandy

0:27:400:27:44

# Sweet and dandy, sweet and dandy Sweet and dandy, sweet and dandy

0:27:440:27:49

# All right, dandy

0:27:490:27:50

# Sweet and dandy

0:27:500:27:52

# Sweet and dandy

0:27:520:27:55

# Sweet and dandy... #

0:27:550:27:58

When we started to sing, we don't get no money for our songs.

0:27:580:28:02

None of these so-called producer don't give us any money,

0:28:020:28:06

and they take our work and take it to abroad, and they sell it, and they don't give us no money.

0:28:060:28:11

When we asked them for money, they gave us two shillings, maybe ten shillings.

0:28:110:28:15

We didn't know nothing about royalty.

0:28:150:28:17

I just came out of school, I was about 22, 23, 24.

0:28:170:28:20

I had a wife, I have a little house.

0:28:230:28:26

And I needed money, so I wasn't worrying about that, I just go play,

0:28:260:28:31

get this little purse side, you know, because when I started,

0:28:310:28:34

it's like about £2, that time we used to have pounds, which was about £2.10 a side.

0:28:340:28:40

You weren't even thinking about money.

0:28:400:28:42

You just want your voice to be heard,

0:28:420:28:45

and you just want to express yourselves, because we weren't paid.

0:28:450:28:49

We were just going and just sing, sing, sing, sing every day.

0:28:490:28:53

At the end of the week, we might get maybe a pound or...

0:28:530:28:57

in our daily lives, we would get one patty for lunch in the daytime, and we were so happy.

0:28:570:29:04

And really, as artists, what did we want?

0:29:040:29:06

Just to get your songs recorded.

0:29:060:29:08

The focal thing that we were going on was not

0:29:080:29:10

really the money was the motivation.

0:29:100:29:13

What really was the motivation, to express your artistic quality,

0:29:130:29:19

and the fact that the promoters didn't take care of us, well,

0:29:190:29:23

I prefer to look at the both sides of the situation, not that they were all honest,

0:29:250:29:30

but, you know, they had their difficulties too, but some of them could have done better.

0:29:300:29:36

I was working with Leslie Kong.

0:29:360:29:38

He died now, very good producer.

0:29:380:29:41

And he told me, "Toots, I have a brother and he's very ugly,

0:29:410:29:45

"and I want you to write a song about him."

0:29:450:29:49

I said, "No, Leslie, because he's a big man,

0:29:490:29:52

"I don't want him to hurt me."

0:29:520:29:54

He said, "No, man, he won't hurt you,

0:29:540:29:56

"just write a song about him for me."

0:29:560:29:59

But when I approach him, I say, "Good evening, Mr Fats,"

0:29:590:30:03

and he say, "Hey, Tootsie, how you doing?"

0:30:030:30:05

I say, "Not bad, sir, your brother asked me write a song about you,

0:30:050:30:10

"because he thinks that you are very ugly and everything like that,

0:30:100:30:14

"and I afraid to write it about you."

0:30:140:30:16

And he said, "Go write it, man, go write it."

0:30:160:30:18

# I only heard of you

0:30:180:30:20

# Talking about that big monkey man

0:30:200:30:24

# It's no lie It's no lie... #

0:30:240:30:27

So I write it like this guy is the biggest ugly guy

0:30:270:30:32

and he have a girl that's really pretty and that girl fall in love with him.

0:30:320:30:40

# I see no sign of you I only heard of you

0:30:400:30:44

# Talking about that big monkey man

0:30:440:30:47

# I see no sign of you I only heard of you

0:30:470:30:52

# Me talking about that big monkey man... #

0:30:520:30:55

All of Jamaican rhythms are based on the beat of the human heart.

0:30:550:31:01

It is the tempo that changes,

0:31:010:31:04

so you've got that initial Jamaican rhythm of ska

0:31:040:31:07

that goes, "Ska-ska-ska-ska."

0:31:070:31:09

A ska would be like something played...

0:31:090:31:12

Ska was very up-tempo,

0:31:170:31:21

and also it was all the...

0:31:210:31:23

Pretty much all the musicians who played on ska were jazz musicians.

0:31:230:31:27

When you go to the dance, you have to be showing your legs

0:31:270:31:30

and show your skin and have a lot of energy to dance this music.

0:31:300:31:33

And then ska changed into rock steady.

0:31:330:31:37

For two years, it slows down and has this kind of on-off syncopation.

0:31:370:31:42

Rock steady come, and they slow it down when they can easily hold a lady

0:31:480:31:54

and...you know, do some easy dance, easy rock, easy...

0:31:540:31:58

Wine and...yeah.

0:31:580:32:01

Like Alton Ellis had one.

0:32:010:32:03

# Better get ready

0:32:030:32:06

# Come do rock steady Da-da. #

0:32:060:32:10

Now comes the reggae,

0:32:100:32:13

which is... very close to rock steady, you know.

0:32:130:32:19

Reggae is close to rock steady.

0:32:190:32:21

But now it's like the reggae come again and change the beat,

0:32:210:32:24

so the beat keep on changing.

0:32:240:32:26

The drum and the bass was locked together, and once you have the drum and the bass locked like a oneness,

0:32:260:32:33

that's where you get that heartbeat sound, like a African thing.

0:32:330:32:37

We had one last song to do,

0:32:370:32:40

and Toots said to us, "I'm going to do a song called

0:32:400:32:44

"Do The Reggay, let's Do The Reggay."

0:32:440:32:46

And then he just sat there for couple of seconds, wrote the lyrics,

0:32:460:32:52

and then the chorus was, "Do the reggay,"

0:32:520:32:55

and before you know it,

0:32:550:32:57

he was credited with being the first person to put reggae on record.

0:32:570:33:04

Do The Reggay was the...

0:33:040:33:06

song that make people know what our music called.

0:33:060:33:11

In Jamaica today, Do The Reggay.

0:33:110:33:13

# Oh, yeah

0:33:130:33:16

# Oh, I've got a rich one Yeah

0:33:170:33:21

-# Early this morning

-Yeah

0:33:210:33:23

-# And does she really want me?

-Yeah

0:33:230:33:27

-# And does she really love me?

-Yeah

0:33:270:33:28

-# Does she want to do the reggay?

-Yeah

0:33:280:33:31

-# Yeah, with me

-Yeah

0:33:320:33:34

# I say come dance with me Let's do this dance right no-ow

0:33:340:33:39

-# Yeah

-Is this the new dance?

0:33:390:33:42

# That's going all over the world?

0:33:430:33:46

# You can do me like this I start to do the reggay

0:33:460:33:50

# You do the reggay, you do the reggay

0:33:500:33:52

# You do the reggay, you do the reggay

0:33:520:33:54

# Reggay, reggay, reggay

0:33:540:33:56

# You do the reggay, Reggay, reggay, reggay

0:33:560:33:58

# You do the reggay, yeah.

0:33:580:33:59

# Reggae got soul

0:34:110:34:14

# Got so much soul

0:34:140:34:17

# Reggae got soul

0:34:170:34:20

# Got so much soul

0:34:200:34:21

# One time... #

0:34:210:34:23

I got to the studio, and Toots was sitting there in a room...

0:34:230:34:27

In a chair, and they were playing a track,

0:34:270:34:31

and he wasn't moving an inch, and I figured he was just listening

0:34:310:34:37

to a playback, you know, because I'm watching through the...

0:34:370:34:41

the glass and, er...

0:34:410:34:45

Then the track finished and they, "That's great."

0:34:450:34:48

This was an up-tempo thing and he'd been singing.

0:34:480:34:54

He was actually singing that and he was not moving a muscle.

0:34:540:34:58

You know what a ball of energy he is.

0:34:580:35:02

I realised that he was bringing it all in from the inside.

0:35:020:35:06

He was bringing it all out that way.

0:35:060:35:08

It was quite incredible to watch, I thought, is he sleeping?

0:35:080:35:12

Is he concentrating on something?

0:35:120:35:14

He was actually singing and you couldn't see a muscle move.

0:35:140:35:17

I thought, "Well, baby, that is how he gets that sound."

0:35:170:35:22

# ..Listen to the beat

0:35:220:35:25

# Moving hands and feet Yeah!

0:35:250:35:28

# Rocking by the line Yeah, yeah, yeah

0:35:280:35:32

# Move in time... #

0:35:320:35:34

This music now was more reflective of our inner feelings,

0:35:340:35:40

of our cultural heritage.

0:35:400:35:44

Not just Jamaican culture,

0:35:450:35:48

but beyond Jamaica,

0:35:480:35:49

how we came there, before we came there, what happened.

0:35:490:35:53

Because since the leaders were... our inspiration...

0:35:530:35:58

Our leaders were Marcus Garvey and his Majesty, Emperor Haile Selassie,

0:35:580:36:04

then we started tracing their roots

0:36:040:36:07

and what they were saying and this reflects in the music.

0:36:070:36:11

# Mother can do it Father can do it

0:36:140:36:17

# Moving kind of feels all right

0:36:170:36:19

# It's reggae got soul

0:36:190:36:21

# Got so much soul

0:36:230:36:24

# Reggae got soul

0:36:260:36:27

# Move, young man, move... #

0:36:270:36:30

There was a sense in the early 70s a little bit

0:36:320:36:34

for those of us who grew up in the 60s,

0:36:340:36:36

"Oh, you know, God, the 60s are over.

0:36:360:36:40

"Things are kind of slowing down a little bit.

0:36:400:36:43

"We know who all the greats are now and they're all on stage.

0:36:430:36:46

"Yeah, they're great, but we're used to them."

0:36:460:36:49

Then suddenly it was just like, "Well, wait a second.

0:36:490:36:52

"There's a whole other world of music here,"

0:36:520:36:54

and that's what The Harder They Come accomplished.

0:36:540:36:57

I mean, it just widened your eyes and, you know,

0:36:570:37:00

blew the top of your head off.

0:37:000:37:02

It was very, very exciting.

0:37:020:37:03

The Harder They Come was kind of before Bob Marley.

0:37:030:37:06

Before Bob Marley made it big in America with Catch A Fire.

0:37:060:37:09

What really brought reggae to the world, was The Harder They Come.

0:37:090:37:14

When Chris Blackwell put me into this film

0:37:140:37:17

with Jimmy Cliff, singing long time before me,

0:37:170:37:21

but they make the film like Jimmy just came from country

0:37:210:37:25

and see me singing in the studio.

0:37:250:37:28

That scene in the studio, with Toots singing Sweet And Dandy

0:37:280:37:31

just touched everybody.

0:37:310:37:32

That was the first time people had really seen reggae,

0:37:320:37:35

had seen a reggae band live in a studio performing.

0:37:350:37:38

# Etty in the room a-cry

0:37:390:37:42

# Mama say she must wipe her eye

0:37:420:37:44

# Papa say she no fi-foolish

0:37:440:37:46

# Like she never been to school at all

0:37:460:37:49

# It is no wonder it's a perfect pander

0:37:490:37:55

# While they were dancing in the bar room last night

0:37:550:38:01

# Johnson in the room afraid... #

0:38:010:38:04

That really turned me onto reggae

0:38:040:38:06

and it became a big fad in the Boston area because there's over 300 colleges.

0:38:060:38:10

It probably was happening elsewhere but that was my scene at the time.

0:38:100:38:14

We couldn't get enough of Toots.

0:38:140:38:16

That's the best kind of cinema there is. It's word of mouth,

0:38:160:38:20

it's folk cinema, you know.

0:38:200:38:23

I think if you wanted to know where reggae came from, or what it means,

0:38:230:38:27

you watch that movie and it tells you everything you need to know.

0:38:270:38:30

Pressure Drop, Sweet And Dandy,

0:38:300:38:32

it was like finding another world, like Brigadoon, you know.

0:38:320:38:36

It's just a funky whole new chapter for somebody who likes soul music and rhythm.

0:38:360:38:40

Essentially, that was the birth of reggae here.

0:38:400:38:43

# Johnson in the room afraid

0:38:430:38:46

# Uncle say he must hold up his head

0:38:460:38:49

# Aunty say he no fi-foolish

0:38:490:38:52

# Like a no time fi his wedding day

0:38:520:38:54

# It is no wonder It's a perfect partner

0:38:540:39:01

# While they were dancing in that bar room last night... #

0:39:010:39:07

This film was a milestone to express another area of the world

0:39:070:39:12

that is not just common to Jamaica,

0:39:120:39:14

but something common to the rest of the world.

0:39:140:39:17

So it was a universal expression.

0:39:170:39:19

I don't know who wrote

0:39:190:39:21

that movie but Jimmy Cliff had that thing down pat right there.

0:39:210:39:26

Everything in Harder They Come was real, real, real.

0:39:260:39:30

I was working at Rolling Stone at the time in the offices every day.

0:39:300:39:35

I just kind of holed up and was listening to all my reggae.

0:39:350:39:38

And one day I was walking by somebody else's office and they were playing, like, pop music.

0:39:380:39:44

It just sounded so empty.

0:39:440:39:47

That person is not trying to help me achieve salvation.

0:39:470:39:53

That person is not trying to help me transcend, you know.

0:39:530:39:57

I mean, it sounds corny in a way, but I do believe that in a variety

0:39:570:40:02

of ways reggae music's ambition is somehow not merely to entertain you

0:40:020:40:07

but to change your life

0:40:070:40:11

and make you aware of other worlds.

0:40:110:40:16

# I said pressure drop

0:40:160:40:18

# Oh, pressure drop

0:40:180:40:20

# Pressure gonna drop on you

0:40:200:40:23

# I said pressure drop

0:40:230:40:25

# Oh, pressure drop

0:40:250:40:27

# Pressure gonna drop on you. #

0:40:270:40:29

Pressure Drop...is one of the reality songs.

0:40:290:40:35

Like he's telling you that if you're evil,

0:40:350:40:39

Jah's gonna drop the pressure on you.

0:40:390:40:41

# Pressure gonna drop on you

0:40:410:40:43

# I said pressure drop

0:40:430:40:46

# You gonna feel how it's been doing wrong

0:40:460:40:50

# I said when life gets tough What you gonna do, yeah

0:40:500:40:54

# People tell you things are wrong

0:40:540:40:57

# Mmm-mm-mmm

0:40:570:40:59

# Mmm-mm-mmm

0:40:590:41:01

# Mmm-mm-mmm yeah

0:41:010:41:03

# Mmm-mm-mmm

0:41:030:41:05

# Mmm-mm-mmm

0:41:050:41:08

# Mmm-mm-mmm yeah

0:41:080:41:10

# I say, now, pressure's gonna drop... #

0:41:100:41:12

Chris Blackwell says,

0:41:120:41:14

"Listen, guys, you have been recording with Toots from day one

0:41:140:41:18

"and he's on the verge of breaking into the international market,

0:41:180:41:23

"on the verge, just right here.

0:41:230:41:25

"We need something to push him over the edge.

0:41:250:41:28

"So what we're going to do, you guys who have been recording with him

0:41:280:41:32

"for all these years and all these albums,

0:41:320:41:34

"you are going to now join forces with Raleigh and Jerry

0:41:340:41:39

"and you're all going to be one entity.

0:41:390:41:42

"You're going to be called The Maytals

0:41:420:41:44

"and it's going to be Toots And The Maytals."

0:41:440:41:47

Toots was the writer, Toots was the star, Toots was the singer.

0:41:470:41:53

You never saw anybody but Toots on stage

0:41:530:41:55

because he's so charismatic still to this day.

0:41:550:41:58

And the other two guys were like his pals.

0:41:580:42:03

Blackwell made us The Maytals.

0:42:030:42:06

The first tour we were in LA and we had a meeting,

0:42:060:42:09

and he said this is the way he wanted it,

0:42:090:42:12

you understand. It was Toots and everybody else was The Maytals.

0:42:120:42:16

This is a big point, when people go and see Toots now

0:42:160:42:20

and they hear his songs, it's the same band.

0:42:200:42:24

That's what's incredible.

0:42:240:42:25

So when you hear him, you're hearing the same vibes.

0:42:250:42:28

The same band playing and they've been with Toots for 30 years.

0:42:280:42:34

1970 until now,

0:42:340:42:38

we have been together.

0:42:380:42:40

Ooh, that sounds...

0:42:400:42:42

Jesus, that's almost 40 years.

0:42:420:42:45

Ooh, some people doesn't even live to be 40.

0:42:450:42:48

At that same time,

0:42:590:43:01

Chris said, "Toots, I would like you to write a song about Kingston."

0:43:010:43:06

There'd been this huge hit called Funky Nassau

0:43:060:43:08

and I said, "You should do a song called Funky Kingston."

0:43:080:43:11

And I say OK, and I call Jerry and Raleigh

0:43:110:43:15

and we go in the corner and we burn.

0:43:150:43:19

I burn a record, man,

0:43:190:43:21

and we come on saying...

0:43:210:43:23

-# Playing from east to west

-East to west

0:43:260:43:29

-# Work from north to south

-North to south

0:43:290:43:31

# All over the world People keep on wanting to see

0:43:310:43:35

# Funky Kingston

0:43:350:43:37

# Funky Kingston What I've got for you now

0:43:370:43:42

# Funky Kingston

0:43:420:43:44

-# Somebody take it away from me

-Funky Kingston

-Funky Kingston

0:43:440:43:51

# Funky Kingston

0:43:510:43:53

-# Funky Kingston, yeah

-Funky Kingston

0:43:530:43:57

# Hey, yeah. #

0:43:570:43:59

It's organic.

0:43:590:44:02

It's real. When you hear it, it sound real, you know, and it's true.

0:44:020:44:07

So it exists in a time,

0:44:090:44:12

because that will never be out of style.

0:44:120:44:15

Being true, being organic, committed, that's never out.

0:44:150:44:20

That exists in every time.

0:44:200:44:22

# Beautiful woman Beautiful woman

0:44:220:44:27

# Beautiful woman Beautiful woman

0:44:270:44:32

# Will drive you crazy...

0:44:320:44:36

# Look here! Here come Billy

0:44:380:44:41

# And he's one of her

0:44:410:44:43

# Ugly men...

0:44:430:44:46

# He say, hello, friend

0:44:460:44:48

# Then I went on to tell the story about this beautiful woman

0:44:480:44:54

# That I see... #

0:44:540:44:57

Toots represents a different Jamaica,

0:44:570:45:00

as against the contemporary artists like Buju

0:45:000:45:03

and Beenie Man or Bounty Killer.

0:45:030:45:06

They're coming out of a different social context.

0:45:060:45:10

They're like post-'80s,

0:45:100:45:12

where the society has undergone different social changes.

0:45:120:45:17

# Beautiful woman Beautiful woman

0:45:170:45:21

# Beautiful woman Will drive you crazy... #

0:45:210:45:28

Nowadays, reggae has kind of become very angry

0:45:280:45:30

and all these guys call themself warlords and all that, you know.

0:45:300:45:34

I actually asked Toots how has reggae changed?

0:45:340:45:37

He said, "Big shoes."

0:45:370:45:39

That was his answer. Big shoes.

0:45:390:45:41

And what that really means is his mystical way of saying that it's all just bling now.

0:45:410:45:45

It's all style and no substance, and those great songs

0:45:450:45:48

and the great vibe that he basically dedicated his life to,

0:45:480:45:52

now it's just become ruined by these dance hall lords calling

0:45:520:45:55

themself warlords and just preaching violence.

0:45:550:45:59

The messages are either misogynist or homophobic.

0:45:590:46:04

Um, but it's... where the culture is now.

0:46:040:46:08

Don't be prejudice, just be good and be humble

0:46:080:46:13

and so that you can be strong, because

0:46:130:46:18

if you don't do that...

0:46:180:46:19

..it going to change the world to be a worse place.

0:46:210:46:24

# You said that the day would never come

0:46:240:46:29

# When you would walk out and leave me

0:46:290:46:33

# That's because true love is hard to find I believe

0:46:330:46:40

# True love is hard to find

0:46:400:46:44

# Everyone should know that

0:46:440:46:46

# True love is hard to find

0:46:460:46:49

-# Hard to find

-Hard to find

0:46:490:46:52

# Hard to find... #

0:46:520:46:55

He's speaking directly to somebody about how you say that your love is just for me.

0:46:550:46:59

I just love how, um, vulnerable and how direct he is, you know.

0:46:590:47:05

He's just...

0:47:050:47:06

He doesn't analyse his lyrics.

0:47:060:47:08

He just speaks the way he would directly from his heart.

0:47:080:47:12

It's an interesting way that he puts things which is refreshing.

0:47:120:47:16

It's completely different than what I've ever heard.

0:47:160:47:19

I always sing something about that, but not in the politics way,

0:47:190:47:25

in my own way which is a loving way and a way that I could get blessing

0:47:250:47:32

instead of curse.

0:47:320:47:34

# Saying I'm a fool to hurt myself

0:47:340:47:36

# I was innocent what they done to me

0:47:360:47:39

# They were wrong Yeah, yeah

0:47:390:47:42

# They were wrong

0:47:420:47:43

-# Give it to me One time

-Uh!

0:47:430:47:46

-# Give it to me Two time

-Uh! Uh!

0:47:460:47:49

-# Give it to me Three time

-Uh! Uh! Uh!

0:47:490:47:52

-# Give it to me every time

-Uh! Uh! Uh! Uh!

0:47:520:47:55

# 54-46 was my number

0:47:550:47:59

# 54-46 was my number

0:47:590:48:03

# One more time 54-46 was my number

0:48:030:48:09

-# Everybody say yeah

-Yeah

0:48:090:48:10

-# Say yeah, yay

-Yeah, yay

0:48:100:48:16

-# Go yeah

-Yeah

0:48:160:48:19

-# Yeah, yay

-Yeah, yay

0:48:190:48:22

# Give it to me one time

0:48:220:48:23

# Give it to me two time

0:48:230:48:26

# Give it to me three time

0:48:260:48:29

# Give it to me seven time... #

0:48:290:48:34

You could do any of Toots's songs as a slow song,

0:48:340:48:36

you could do them as a rock song.

0:48:360:48:38

However you do it, just the melody, the verse, the chorus, the middle eight, are so strong,

0:48:380:48:43

and that's why everybody was dying to be on the classic Grammy-winning

0:48:430:48:46

album, which is True Love, Toots's album that won a Grammy.

0:48:460:48:49

True Love is one of those albums that I think, in many ways,

0:49:000:49:04

is summed up by its title.

0:49:040:49:05

The idea that this incredible range of musicians

0:49:050:49:09

all have felt the impact of Toots and would perform

0:49:090:49:13

on one of his records conveys something important about what he has accomplished.

0:49:130:49:19

# Soon you will find out the man I'm supposed to be

0:49:190:49:26

# Ah-ahhh Ah-ahhh Ah-ahhh

0:49:300:49:36

# Don't trouble no man

0:49:490:49:52

# And if you should trouble this man... #

0:49:550:49:57

When we asked them to do it,

0:50:040:50:06

each one of them said yes, they will do it.

0:50:060:50:10

Each one of them pick their own songs.

0:50:100:50:14

And when I did it, they kept trying to get me to ad lib, you know.

0:50:140:50:19

Ad lib vocal, ad libs. I couldn't do it. I couldn't.

0:50:190:50:22

When I listen to it now, I can't hear my voice because I did my best

0:50:220:50:26

to get in underneath Toots and just sing along with him rather than...

0:50:260:50:30

They were going, "Can't you sing something around it?"

0:50:300:50:33

I can't do that.

0:50:330:50:34

How dare I, you know?

0:50:340:50:36

Can't muck around with that stuff, it's too good.

0:50:360:50:39

It's always an interesting choice of material.

0:50:390:50:42

He's always been willing to move a little,

0:50:420:50:45

this way and that. But at the same time, paradoxically, he's very traditional somehow.

0:50:450:50:52

Somehow he manages to move between those two areas

0:50:520:50:56

and still retain the integrity of what he does.

0:50:560:51:02

It was the right album.

0:51:020:51:03

I mean, here he was doing duets with a lot of really well-known fans of his who were also stars.

0:51:030:51:08

So they called me up and asked, and I think I was on tour.

0:51:080:51:13

We fit in some days off and went in the studio.

0:51:130:51:16

I got to record with his band, who are some of the greatest musicians.

0:51:160:51:20

That was one of the highlights of my life.

0:51:200:51:23

# True love is hard to find

0:51:230:51:26

-# Hard to find

-Hard to find

0:51:260:51:30

-# Hard to find

-Hard to find

0:51:300:51:33

-# I say true love

-True love

0:51:330:51:35

-# True love

-True love

0:51:350:51:37

# True love is hard to find... #

0:51:370:51:41

Toots was in the peak of my young adulthood.

0:51:410:51:44

He was my soul guy, you know.

0:51:440:51:46

On stage, he had charisma and command of the band

0:51:460:51:50

and of the audience's dynamics.

0:51:500:51:53

Tremendous physicality and sexuality, so I was like,

0:51:530:51:57

you know, you are mighty.

0:51:570:51:59

This is Toots and there's no mistaking it.

0:51:590:52:03

He puts his own stamp on anything,

0:52:030:52:05

which is difficult to do that many years after.

0:52:050:52:07

I mean, we're talking, like me, a veteran here!

0:52:070:52:13

He's a performer.

0:52:130:52:16

He performs on stage.

0:52:160:52:18

He sings, he dances, he plays a couple of instruments.

0:52:180:52:25

He conducts, he...

0:52:250:52:28

raps with his audience.

0:52:280:52:30

He does so many things that after the first song,

0:52:300:52:36

you say, "Jesus, what is going to happen in the second song?"

0:52:360:52:40

After the second song, you don't even want to go to the rest room.

0:52:400:52:46

You are afraid that you might miss something.

0:52:460:52:48

MUSIC: "Monkey Man"

0:52:480:52:53

You don't go to see Toots Hibbert so much as attending a show,

0:53:180:53:22

as to having a party with him.

0:53:220:53:24

He doesn't disappoint. There are many occasions

0:53:320:53:35

where you hear a record of someone and then you go and see them

0:53:350:53:39

ten years later and it's a little bit of a let-down.

0:53:390:53:42

Toots is not.

0:53:420:53:44

Toots gives his everything to the audience, you can just see that.

0:53:440:53:48

He never, quote, phones it in. Never, never, never.

0:53:480:53:53

When you see Toots on stage,

0:53:530:53:55

it's like a volcano exploding with rhythm, you know.

0:53:550:54:00

So Toots is just music to me.

0:54:000:54:03

I happen to know that Toots' audience is quite a good mixture.

0:54:030:54:08

Starts in kindergarten to the home for the age.

0:54:080:54:11

THEY SING

0:54:110:54:13

When you go to a Toots show, you see just hundreds and hundreds of teenagers going crazy.

0:54:200:54:25

Their parents weren't even born when Toots started, you know.

0:54:250:54:29

His energy was unbelievable and he had everybody on stage.

0:54:380:54:42

He got all the audience up with him, dancing.

0:54:420:54:47

I would never allow that in my show.

0:54:470:54:49

I just thought this guy is something else!

0:54:490:54:53

MUSIC: "Monkey Man"

0:54:530:54:55

You want to come to the show.

0:55:060:55:08

It's an honour just being there and seeing this man

0:55:080:55:11

look like he's 16 years old still.

0:55:110:55:13

I look older than him, I think.

0:55:130:55:17

Well, Daddy is like...

0:55:170:55:21

a child, you know.

0:55:210:55:23

He appeals to them in that way.

0:55:230:55:26

Whenever he's on stage, he gets everybody's cooperation.

0:55:260:55:30

He includes you in the performance.

0:55:300:55:34

-# Yeah

-Yeah

0:55:340:55:36

-# Yeah

-Yeah

0:55:360:55:38

-# Yeah

-Yeah

0:55:380:55:41

-# Wanna get higher

-Yeah

0:55:410:55:43

-# You wanna get higher?

-Yeah

0:55:430:55:45

-# You wanna get higher?

-Yeah

0:55:450:55:47

-# You wanna get higher?

-Yeah

0:55:470:55:50

-# Wanna get higher

-Yeah

0:55:500:55:52

-# Higher

-Higher

0:55:520:55:54

-# Higher

-Higher... #

0:55:540:55:56

The fact that Toots has resonance with young people,

0:55:560:55:59

means he'll have resonance for the next 25 years of my life.

0:55:590:56:04

I get to see people fall in love with him again and that's good news for me.

0:56:040:56:07

As long as Toots is doing OK, we've got a music business I can stand.

0:56:070:56:12

I can't switch it off.

0:56:180:56:20

He just gets my ear, holds it.

0:56:200:56:23

From the moment Toots take the mic, it's like you plug him in our electrics.

0:56:230:56:27

That's the Energiser Bunny.

0:56:270:56:29

Toots is the only man I know don't sing with the mic here.

0:56:290:56:32

He sing with it down here and you hear him clear still, you know.

0:56:320:56:36

# Oh, pressure drop

0:56:410:56:42

# Oh, pressure drop

0:56:420:56:45

# Oh, yeah Pressure gonna drop on you. #

0:56:450:56:47

If you come every night,

0:56:470:56:48

you will hear the same song but you will see a different performance.

0:56:480:56:53

And that is what sets him apart from all the other guys.

0:56:530:56:58

He goes on stage and he portrays what he's feeling

0:57:020:57:07

that night into his voice.

0:57:070:57:10

You have to have the goods to become a star of his magnitude.

0:57:100:57:14

He's just a soulful performer.

0:57:140:57:15

I admire him a lot.

0:57:150:57:18

He's a great talent, a good singer, a good writer, a good performer.

0:57:200:57:24

The music that he plays regenerates the audience.

0:57:240:57:29

# I said pressure,

0:57:310:57:32

# Pressure, pressure, pressure

0:57:320:57:34

# Pressure gonna drop on you... #

0:57:340:57:37

When I think about Toots, you know, I think about conviction.

0:57:370:57:42

I think about the power that he brings to every single performance.

0:57:420:57:48

The level of intensity is still the same and it's inspiring.

0:57:480:57:53

There are certain things which you know will always just knock your head off.

0:57:530:57:57

You get what you're expecting to get.

0:57:570:57:59

He just stands head and shoulders and he's got that.

0:57:590:58:02

# I said pressure drop Pressure drop

0:58:020:58:06

# Pressure gonna drop on you

0:58:060:58:08

I think he's still the best.

0:58:080:58:11

I think he'll be the best until he decide to give it up.

0:58:120:58:16

I don't see nobody doing it like what Toots is doing now.

0:58:160:58:19

Truth.

0:58:200:58:22

We don't want Toots to go anywhere.

0:58:220:58:24

Want him stay right where he is and keep doing what he's doing.

0:58:240:58:27

# Drop, drop, drop, drop, drop

0:58:270:58:30

# Pressure gonna drop on you

0:58:300:58:33

# Drop, drop, drop, drop, drop

0:58:330:58:37

# Pressure gonna drop on you

0:58:370:58:39

# Oh, yeah! #

0:58:400:58:42

Oh, man, when you think of him, can you even stop smiling?

0:58:430:58:47

You happy now?

0:58:490:58:50

Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd

0:58:580:59:01

Email [email protected]

0:59:010:59:04

The untold story of one of the most influential artists ever to come out of Jamaica, Toots Hibbert, featuring intimate new performances and interviews with Toots, rare archive from throughout his career and interviews with contemporaries and admirers including Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Jimmy Cliff, Bonnie Raitt, Willie Nelson, Marcia Griffiths and Paolo Nutini.

From his beginnings as a singer in a Jamaican church to the universally-praised, Grammy award-winning artist of today, the film tells the story of one of the true greats of music. Toots was the first to use the word reggae on tape in his 1968 song Do the Reggay and his music has defined, popularised and refined it across six decades, with hit after hit including Pressure Drop, Sweet and Dandy, Monkey Man, Funky Kingston, Bam Bam, True Love Is Hard To Find and Reggae Got Soul.

As Island records founder Chris Blackwell says, 'The Maytals were unlike anything else... sensational, raw and dynamic'. Always instantly recognisable is Toots's powerful, soulful voice which seems to speak viscerally to the listener - 'one of the great musical gifts of our time'. His songs are at the same time stories of everyday life in Jamaica and postcards from another world.