Toots and The Maytals

Toots and The Maytals

Toots Hibbert is one of the great voices of Jamaica; a legend whose career spans every development in Jamaican music, from ska through rock-steady to reggae. Toots and the Maytals have helped to chart the course of Jamaican music with unrivaled delivery and dynamism, setting new standards of excellence, and becoming the most enduring of all Jamaica's groups.

Born in Maypen in the parish of Clarendon, Jamaica - the youngest of seven children - Toots began singing in the church choir at the age of seven. He left home in his teens to go to Kingston where he met Raleigh Gordon and Jerry Matthias and formed the original Maytals in 1962. They were also sometimes recorded as the Vikings.

The Maytals began their career at Studio One, the headquarters of Clement 'Coxsone' Dodd, in Kingston, Jamaica. The group's debut release, HALLELUJAH, was an immediate hit throughout the island, and featured a mix of Jamaican rhythms and gospel vocal influence that would mark much of the Maytals music. Further successes followed, including I'LL NEVER GROW OLD and JUST GOT TO BE ME, each one building a reputation for the Maytals and their energetic straight-from-church style of singing and their "spiritual" ska beat.

Despite the initial successes, the group soon left Coxsone and linked up with another legendary figure in the Jamaican music business, Prince Buster, the number one sound system operator on the island. The Buster-produced Maytals singles were popular successes in Jamaica and England, where this new type of "ska" music became a sensation in dancehalls. The relationship between Buster and The Maytals produced some of the best records from the original ska era, including DOG WAR, aka BROADWAY JUNGLE.

In 1966, the Maytals began to work with Byron Lee and the Dragonaires and won the first Jamaican Festival Song Competition with the song BAM BAM. The Maytals were poised for stardom, but just as their fortune seemed set, Toots was arrested for possession of marijuana and was incarcerated for 18 months, despite his plea of innocence.

The Maytals returned with a vengeance in 1968, recording with famed producer Leslie Kong. The era of ska was ending, giving way to the more complex sounds of Reggae evolving from Kong's Beverleys Label. Although these years of post-independence marked a more violent era of Jamaica's history, Toots and the Maytals were far closer to soul and gospel influences than many of the "revolutionary" young artistes of the late 60's. Nevertheless, the Maytals first single in two years, 54-46 (THAT'S MY NUMBER), combined the story of Toots' arrest with a powerful downbeat to create one of the greatest rock steady/reggae singles of all time.

As rock steady became reggae (and the Maytals single DO THE REGGAY was the first published use of the word), the Maytals consolidated their position as leaders in Jamaican music. They recorded the hit MONKEY MAN and the classic SWEET AND DANDY which won the 1969 Festival Song Competition and was featured, along with their dance-floor smash, PRESSURE DROP, on the soundtrack to THE HARDER THEY COME, one of the great reggae albums of all time.

The Beverley's label folded, however, with the passing of Leslie Kong in 1971. The Maytals turned again to Byron Lee and his Dynamic Sounds, and again won the Festival Song prize in 1972 for POMP AND PRIDE. They released their first album for Dynamic, FUNKY KINGSTON in 1973-- a masterful album in every respect and one that helped bolster the group's international audience- now considered a classic staple for any reggae collection.

In 1975 Toots and the Maytals signed a worldwide recording contract with Island Records. The following year the group hit the British singles charts with REGGAE GOT SOUL, the title track to their new album. They also toured America, Europe and Britain. The REGGAE GOT SOUL album was a superb showcase for Toots' soulful vocals embellished by fine musicianship from a cosmopolitan studio band that included such talents as Steve Winwood, Eddie Quansah, Dudu Pukwana, Rico Rodriguez and Tommy McCook.
Constant touring showed audiences what Jamaicans had known for over a decade - that Toots and the Maytals were simply one of the greatest live acts in the world. Their popularity increased throughout the 70's with such popular releases as PASS THE PIPE (1978), IN THE DARK (1979), JUST LIKE THAT (1980), KNOCK OUT (1982). IN THE DARK, which included the songs TIME TOUGH and TAKE ME HOME COUNTRY ROADS was internationally acclaimed, and BEAUTIFUL WOMAN from the KNOCKOUT album was an international hit. The world's audiences were able to hear Toots and the Maytals fuse reggae, soul, gospel and even country, into a dynamic original combination.

On September 29, 1980, Toots and The Maytals made history when the band played at London's Hammersmith Palais. Less than 24 hours later, a live album from that show was on sale in record stores throughout Britain. It was the fastest live album in recording history and, according to some critics, TOOTS LIVE ranks alongside Bob Marley Live At The Lyceum, James Brown At The Apollo and Otis Redding in Europe as one of the finest live records ever made. After disbanding the Maytals in the early 80's, Toots began recording with Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare. The combination produced SPIRITUAL HEALING -- a chart success around the world, even reaching number one in South Africa and another hit, PEACE PERFECT PEACE. The popular and critically acclaimed TOOTS IN MEMPHIS (1988) followed, featuring Toots covering Stax classics in his own inimitable way.

Toots reformed the Maytals and picked up the touring pace again in the early 90's. The group released RECOUP (1997), and the Grammy-nominated SKAFATHER (1998) - featuring new re- cuts of older material with a few new tracks included. Toots and the Maytals have been nominated three times for Grammy Awards – the other nominations were for TOOTS IN MEMPHIS and TOOTS LIVE. The Maytals also hold the record for the largest number of number one hits in Jamaica, with 31 to their credit. They are the only Jamaican group that has both sides of one of their records become number one on both Hit Parades (DADDY and IT'S YOU).

The 2002 release, WORLD IS TURNING, on Toots’ own D & F label, was the first album of all new material to be released in two decades. The album contains songs that were works in progress over a long period between 1973 and 2002, and features refreshing originals with a wide variety of styles and influences, including rocksteady, reggae roots, funky r&b, rave disco, and gospel. The 15-song album includes only one re-cut, a hot new version of the roots-reggae FEEL FREE, with a brilliant cameo from the Messenger, Luciano.

The latest album, TRUE LOVE, finds Toots and the Maytals revisiting some of the band’s most classic works with a host of musical friends onboard - Keith Richards, Shaggy and Rahzel, Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Beck, Ben Harper, No Doubt, Marcia Griffiths, Ken Boothe, Ryan Adams, Bootsy Collins and the Roots, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Terry Hall and the Skatalites and Trey Anastasio – for delightful fresh-ear journey through Toots’ musical history. Add in the surprise tracks- Willie Nelson and Toots groovin’ on Willie’s STILL IS STILL MOVIN TO ME, Rachel Yamagata pleading on the newer BLAME ON ME and Bunny Wailer’s vocal comradery on the never-before released TAKE A TRIP for an unparalleled reggae joy ride.

Indeed Toots and the Maytals artistry spans every phase of Jamaican music's evolution, earning him the reputation as one of Jamaica's most consistent and inspired performers, and one of the greatest reggae/r&b singers of all time. Generations of fans – old and new- are discovering that Toots and the Maytals were - and are - masters of reggae and the live performance. The combination of great reggae rhythms, heartfelt vocals, and soulful gospel influence remains potent and powerful --probably the most cohesive mix of reggae and soul music ever, and still going strong.

Three Grammy Nominations: Skafather, Toots in Memphis, Toots Live Three First Place Festival Songs (and two second places), including the first year of the contest - 1966 BamBam, Sweet and Dandy, Pomp and Pride Record Holder for number one Hit Parade Songs in Jamaica (31) Record for having two number one songs on one 45 release in Jamaica. (Daddy/ Its you) Guiness World Record for shortest time between the recording and release of a live album- TOOTS LIVE at the Hammersmith Palais The Harder Thay Come - one of Vanity Fair’s Top 10 Best Soundtracks of all time- contains 2 tracks from Toots and the Maytals, who were also featured in the film.

Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real

Lukas Nelson, vocals/guitar
Anthony LoGerfo, drums
Tato Melgar, percussion
Corey McCormick, bass

For Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, 2011 was a year packed with over 200 high-energy, spirited performances, including such mega-musical events as Farm Aid, Bridge School Benefit, Stagecoach, and Country Throwdown, the chance to spread their unique brand of gritty rock and roll to millions of people via the greatest of the late night shows, Late Show with David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Jimmy Kimmel Live!, and the adoption of the name Realers by their growing base of supporters.

But 2011 was also the year, through blood, sweat and trying times, that Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real - which also includes drummer Anthony LoGerfo, percussionist Tato Melgar and bassist Corey McCormick - made good on that promise to keep it real, and to make their way out of the shadow of a famous father and into the hearts and souls of music fans nationwide the way that they wanted to… on their own downhome rock and roll merits.

During the summer of 2011 Nelson, 22 years old at the time, found himself in the most intense writing jag of his early career. His journey spanned three soul-searching summer months during an intense 15-week tour. The result, the band’s second full-length album, Wasted.

“I was up every night until the wee hours of the morning just writing in the back of the bus. I had a lot of ideas and was very inspired being out there on that tour; there was a lot going on. This record is a snapshot of that time. You know, there were a lot of pressures on the road and there are a lot of people who view touring as just one big party. It was like summer camp. I soon realized I wasn’t really being myself and I had a big wake-up call and it’s during that time that I wrote this record.”

But Nelson doesn’t want people getting the wrong idea that Wasted is an album about partying. It’s not. It’s about the idea of wasting your time, your life, your creativity, and reminding yourself to stay true to your values and ideals. For Lukas and Promise of the Real that’s always been about family, positivity, and spreading love and happiness to others. “I have a lot of reflections about the honesty of people in general,” Nelson explains, “and this record explores big life questions and what it means to waste your life away. There are many definitions for the word and this record delves into a lot of them. It’s not a one-dimensional album, it’s meant to be listened to and internalized. There are a lot of sentiments about missing loved ones and being on the road, and even some political and military hints in there.”

On Wasted the band’s familiar sound evolved from past recordings. A huge influence on this was Neil Young, whom Lukas calls a “distant mentor” and who suggested the band try a different approach to recording their new album. “Neil Young suggested that we record the music live in the studio in analog, which is something we didn’t do on the last album,” says Nelson. “It really added a lot of magnetism, energy, and gave the music a live feel, and a lot of warmth to it. I feel like this record sounds more like what you get when you see us perform.”

Drummer Anthony LoGerfo explains: “Neil recommended recording the record at 192 [which denotes the speed of the tape], and is kind of a futuristic thing. Normally records are recorded at 48. It’s similar to picture quality – the more picture frames that are in a square, the crisper and clearer the picture is. It’s the same with music. Also, this process makes you record live which makes it very real. You can’t do a lot of overdubs and everything is dry when you record it, so we recorded everything in analog and used a lot of older equipment which gave it a bit of a vintage sound. But, to me, it’s like a new vintage sound because the old feel is there but is still really crisp and clear.”

The band had a magical time in the studio, taking Nelson’s acoustic guitar renditions of the 14 tracks and turning them into true Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real creations. “I think he’s improved a lot as a songwriter because he’s writing a little more cohesively and showing us a different side to his writing. It’s a little harder, more rockin’, and more danceable,” says LoGerfo of Nelson’s growth as a writer. But, lest we forget: Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real is a band. “Lukas gets all credit for writing, and I’m proud of what he’s done here, but the arrangement and the sound is definitely the band,” says LoGerfo. “We’d listen to the song on his cheap little recorder one time through and then go into the studio together and start jamming and it would come out completely different than how we wrote it. The lyrics and chord changes were there, but the sound would just morph.”

Helping the band fine tune their sound was Wasted co-producer Jim “Moose” Brown, the Grammy Award-winning session musician/songwriter/producer and Bob Seger guitarist. The album was recorded at Brown’s Moose Lodge Studios in Nashville and he helped POTR broaden their sound by introducing instruments they haven’t recorded with before, such as Dobro guitar, Wurlitzer piano, Hammond B3 Organ, which Moose plays; and steel guitar played by Cowboy Eddie Long (who has played with Jamey Johnson, Hank Williams III). Joining Moose and Cowboy as special guests on the album is Harmonica player Mickey Raphael and Lukas’ sister Amy Nelson who sings on two of the album’s tracks.

The band chose to kick the album off with the “The Golden Rule” as a way to show where their musical direction was heading. “We chose it just because it’s different. It’s not something people have heard before in terms of the style of music. It’s a mix of a lot of different influences. We made it much more percussive and rhythmic and changed the rhythm so it feels more like calypso or Paul Simon or like my dad’s Teatro. So I thought musically it would be cool to open up with the record with this. And also the message is important. The first word on the album is ‘Ohm’ and the song is about treating others the way you want to be treated. I thought we’d start the album off with a message we stand for.”

The first single from the record is the title track, “Wasted,” a feel-good tune with a strutty vibe. “I had just finished Keith Richards’ book Life, when I wrote that song,” says Nelson of the song’s inspiration. “It was kind of influenced by the Stones and I wanted the song to be something that reflected our live show and that I could really move to onstage.” Logerfo adds, “This song and this album are really road tunes. By being on the road together so long for those three months, we really improved as a band and got tighter and you hear that on this album. The songs are really jammy and fun to play live and represent us and we hope all the Realers out there enjoy it!”

Steppin Razor Band

Steppin' Razor brings original, conscious roots rock reggae to the masses of the 21st Century, who not only seek an escape from the monotony, but are inspired by positive vibrations. This music is for those who crave something new, but familiar; revolutionary, yet classic. With their debut CD, Gold In Rule, Steppin' Razor's next chapter unfolds.

It was the spring of 2005. The successful Bob Marley and the Wailers tribute band, Babylon Bus, had dissolved. The former lead singer and rhythm guitarist, Johnny Myers, and drummer, Mark Patterson, realized something over the course of an inspiring phone conversation; they still had an unquestionable desire to play Reggae music. With an arsenal of tunes, and a resurgence of inspiration to learn as much as possible about the music they loved, the two started to assemble a new group.

The core 4, Johnny Myers, Mark Patterson, James Hoy, and B. Hold are who stand tall amongst the great cast of players that have come and gone in the history of the band (we give thanks to each of them because without their contributions, we would not be where we are today). Their gigs have taken them from the casinos of Atlantic City, to many of the legendary stages of Philadelphia including the World Cafe Live, Grape Street, The North Star Bar, The Barbary, The Pontiac Grille, and The Khyber, and more recently to headlining spots at The Note in West Chester, PA. Fans have also been enjoying them in West Chester every Wednesday night for Reggae Night for nearly 3 years. These shows are comprised of a mix of Reggae classics and Steppin' Razor originals.

Having cultivated and nurtured their approach to Reggae, work began on a record of Steppin' Razor originals. As it progressed, the band realized that it would be possible to create EVERYTHING themselves and keep all production in-house, save for the CD replication. The result is 2009's Gold In Rule. The full length album was written, produced, engineered, recorded, and mastered by the members of Steppin' Razor. Even the artwork and photography, except for 4 pictures (courtesy of Aaron Owens) were done completely by the band.

With a renewed sense of accomplishment and confidence, Steppin' Razor is looking forward to continued steady growth, with a greater focus on more songwriting and performances in original music-friendly venues. With a second album in the works, look for more shows by the band outside of the greater Philadelphia area soon!


Cultureal is an eleven piece reggae band based in the Philadelphia area. Joshua Winer, (leader/bass player/lead singer) put the band together in the summer of 2006. All of the members of Cultureal are professional musicians who avidly study many styles of music including North Indian Classical, Ghanaian Ewe, Middle Eastern, Balkan, Afro-Cuban, Brazilian and Avant-Garde to name a few. After starting out covering obscure reggae tunes, Cultureal developed a unique roots based sound featuring the diverse improvisational styling of each member. In their original repertoire, Cultureal has maintained the spirit of reggae through conscious lyrics.

$30.00 - $35.00

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