Second Grammy win for Toots and The MaytalBy Kevin Jackson, Jamaica ObsERVER
March 15, 2021 – Singer Leba Hibbert is overjoyed that Got to Be Tough, the last studio album released by Toots and The Maytals, won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album yesterday.
The event was held virtually at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The band’s leader was her father, Toots Hibbert, who died last September due to complications from COVID-19.
“This is so bittersweet. He died and didn’t get to accept the award himself. However, we are celebrating his win and we are grateful,” Hibbert, who also provided back-up duties for her father, told the Jamaica Observer shortly after the announcement
“This signifies more recognition to my father’s work and more fans. This is a great record and the songs speak about the times that we are living in. I’d say his win is historical,” she added.
Another of Hibbert’s children, gospel singer Jenieve Bailey, was elated.
“This is great news. Dad has worked very hard. It took him 10 years, as he wanted his fans to really have a great experience through this album and we, the family members, are elated that his hard work paid off. We’re happy,” said Bailey.
Guitarist Jackie Jackson, an original member of The Maytals band, was equally happy.
“This is a great honour for a legend and so very well-deserved. He gave us a lifetime of hits beginning in the ska era and throughout the generations. My only regret is that he’s not here to share it with us one more time,” he said.
Toots and The Maytals won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in 2005 for True Love. Their previous nominations were Toots in Memphis (1989), An Hour Live (1991), Ska Father (1999), Light Your Light (2008), and Reggae Got Soul: Unplugged on Strawberry Hill (2013).
Got to Be Tough was released on August 28, 2020. It was the seventh nomination for Toots and sixth overall nomination for The Maytals.
The other nominees in this year’s Best Reggae Album category were Higher Place by Skip Marley, Maxi Priest’s It All Comes Back to Love, Buju Banton’s Upside Down 2020, and One World by The Wailers.
The Trojan Jamaica/BMG set is the veteran act’s first release in more than a decade. It peaked at number nine on the Billboard Reggae Albums Chart and has to date sold more than 5,186 copies in the United States. It also spent multiple weeks at number one on the sales-driven US Current Reggae Albums Chart.
In other Grammy news, John Legend won Best R&B Album for Bigger Love. It features the collaboration Don’t Walk Away with Koffee.
Download the special Toots & Ron Woods issue here.
Kingston, Jamaica – In the early days of Jamaican popular music, our female singers and songwriters played a major role in propelling our music onto the world stage. In fact, the first major international Jamaican hit recording was by one of Jamaica’s female pioneers, Millie Small, with her 1964 million-selling single “My Boy Lollipop.” Its success opened the doors for such artists as Phyllis Dillon, Marcia Griffiths, Judy Mowatt, Hortense Ellis, Pam Hall, Rita Marley, Carlene Davis, J.C. Lodge, Cynthia Schloss, Lorna Bennett, Dawn Penn, Sheila Hylton, and Nadine Sutherland, all of whom established themselves as mainstream recording and performing artists.
For some strange reason, however, the early achievements of our female artists did not result in the kind of follow-through seen by their male counterparts. For many years, we have failed to produce top-class female Reggae recording artists and performers. With the exception of the local and international successes of Diana King, Patra, Sasha, Foxy Brown, and Lady Saw, female Reggae and Dancehall artists have become a very scarce commodity over the last 25 years.Continue reading →
Bob Marley’s Earthday Celebrations Set for Feb. 6, 2021
There are several birthday celebrations leading up to Marley’s 76th Birthday on February 6, including a global virtual birthday celebration hosted by Cedella Marley, Songs of Freedom: The Island Years and a Bob Marley Tribute Livestream
In lieu of the live annual birthday celebration that usually occurs at the Bob Marley Museum every year, Cedella Marley will be hosting a global virtual event for Bob Marley’s 76th birthday on February 6. Inspired by Bob Marley’s most militant album, Cedella, the Marley family, friends, and fans worldwide will celebrate Bob Marley’s 76th Earthstrong under the theme, SURVIVAL.
The virtual celebration will mimic the usual festivities beginning at 7 am ET, including messages from the family, a Miami Performance Mash-up featuring the Marley brothers and third-generation
Marleys, Survival Cypher performance featuring Skip Marley, Jo Mersa, Tifa, Kabaka Pyramid, Agent Sasco, and Tanya Stephens, More Family Time with Ziggy Marley, Memorial Tributes for Toots Hibbert and Betty Wright.
Also, performances from Papa Michigan, Richie Spice, Beenie Man, and more, plus “In the Marley Kitchen” featuring Chefs Brian Lumley and Kush McDonald, story reading, yoga, a children’s sing-a-long and much more. The virtual celebration will also feature video tribute messages from family, friends, fellow musicians, and artists from around the world.
To watch Marley’s 76th Birthday SURVIVAL festivities on Bob Marley’s official YouTube channel, and for more upcoming content celebrating Bob’s legacy & contributions to the world, click HERE.
2021’s theme is ‘Come Ketch de Riddim Virtually’ and is presented by the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports (MCGES). Sponsors include the Jamaica Tourist Board, the Tourism Enhancement Fund, the Ministry of Tourism, JCDC, and JaRIA.
Here’s what you need to know about Reggae Month:
“Reggae Month was officially proclaimed and first staged in 2008, spearheaded by the Ministry of Culture and powered by the Jamaican Reggae Industry Association (JaRIA).
The focus of Reggae Month is “edutainment”, highlighting Jamaica’s musical history and heritage. The annual celebration has been a success, attracting on average 40,000 attendees each year. This success is made possible by the overwhelming support of media partners and music industry practitioners, in addition to dedicated government and corporate sponsors who share the Reggae Month vision. Continue reading →
Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry Talks Bob Marley, Dub, Reggae, Production
Berklee Online’s Pat Healy talks with 84-year-old Lee “Scratch” Perry about his one-of-a-kind legacy and career. This bizarre and winding interview is available in all its strangeness and entirety at Hypebot.com
Pat Healy: “As a music producer, he arguably invented reggae in the late 1960s and early 70s, and he inarguably invented dub in the mid-1970s at his famed Black Ark Studio in Jamaica. He was Bob Marley’s mentor, producing some of his first recordings. It’s possible he also invented sampling, using the sound of a crying baby to begin his song “People Funny Boy” in 1968, a scathing song against one of his rival producers.” Scratch has collaborated with the Clash, Beastie Boys, George Clinton, and Keith Richards, among others.
The conversation that follows takes a lot of twists and turns and some of his answers were so different from the questions asked. So, to help, the writer* interrupts every now and then to provide context. For example….
PH: You grew up with what, four siblings?
LP: Yeah, I grew up with revolution. *PH: So yeah, he grew up with revolution. Okay, back to the interview … LP: I grew up with revolution in my brain, revolution in my leg, and revolution in my head.
Were there songs in your family before you went off to Kingston, music that you liked? Well, I liked “Charlie Brown,” like pop music. Yeah, I was loving pop music and [songs like, “Yakety Yak” by the Coasters] “Take out those papers and the trash, or you won’t get no spending cash.” I am a lover of pop music. So I reckon my number one spot is Michael Jackson.
Michael Jackson? You’d been recording for years before you heard him, right? Well, I love stars that are uncommon. I’m really a pop music lover. I really love hip-hop music. I love hip-hop music even more than reggae music. Reggae music is okay. I love the American artists, them so much because the American artists have super very good voice [laughs]. So I was always listening to good singers. I love good singers; I love real singers. I watched Bob Marley in that duration before reggae becomes so common. So, most of the stars that I have put up were coming from the American singers. You know what I mean? So, I mean to say if you want to hear about something like “Me love Jamaica because they’re my people,” but they actually are too nice to me and they’re like raggamuffin, and me no like raggamuffin. Me like special artists. James Brown is my friend [laughs].
James Brown? Yeah, was my friend.
Yeah Rolling Stones are my friend. I don’t like to see what will happen to the Americans because most of the American singers, I learned from them and I love them. I don’t know what will happen to the good singers in America to find a way out, to find freedom, because if all of the American singers die, I will cry.
Yeah, I mean singers are our last shot. It will be too boring without the American singers.
*PH: Okay, here is the first interruption! So, at this point, he is talking about how he’d be sad if all of the American singers died because he is referring back to a theory that he revealed when our conversation first started, that the coronavirus is affecting America so badly now because the American government gave Bob Marley cancer. Are you following? He is actually not the only one to believe the second part of this. Most biographers of Bob Marley will acknowledge that there was definitely a suspicious amount of interest the FBI and CIA had in the reggae superstar, and that the agency considered him a threat. Maybe he would inspire a great uprising? Maybe his songs were too political. Most biographers will acknowledge that yes, there is at least some credible evidence that the American government had something to do with the 1978 assassination attempt against Bob Marley, but there is little credible evidence to support the theory that a device the American government had placed in Bob Marley’s shoe caused the cancer that killed him in 1981. However, there are some people who believe that. Lee “Scratch” Perry seems to be one of those people. And he also seems to believe that the virus is karmic retribution.
LP: American scientists and American Obeah men and American beasts gave Bob Marley cancer, in a year. They gave Bob Marley cancer and them could not find the answer. Why did they give Bob Marley cancer? If they give Bob Marley cancer, then Bob Marley give them the virus [laughs].
Excerpt from new oral history ‘So Much Things to Say’ tells the story of harrowing 1976 ambush at Tuff Gong By Roger Steffens (What follows is an excerpt from a Rolling Stone, July 7, 2017, article, edited for size)
Roger Steffens:Friday, December 3, dawned hot and humid. Members of the Wailers Band gathered at Tuff Gong late that afternoon to rehearse for the upcoming concert.
Judy Mowatt: I had a vision a few days before the shooting. Marcia left; she didn’t feel too good about that concert. Like she had a premonition that something could happen, or she heard something and she left the island. Rita and myself had been going to rehearsals. So one night I went to my bed and I dreamt that this rooster, it was a rooster with three chickens, and the rooster got shot, and the shot ricocheted and damaged two of the chickens. I even saw like one of the chicken’s tripe inside, the intestines come out. And I didn’t like it, and I told it to Rita and Rita knew about it. But we were looking out for something. Because usually, how the Africa woman understands, a lot of times we depend on our dreams. We know that when you dream, if it’s not so, it’s close to what it is. So we were expecting something to happen. And then again, I went to my bed. I never mentioned this – but I went to my bed again and I saw in the newspaper where Bob sang that song “Smile Jamaica” and that was the song that created a controversy because of certain lyrics that he had in it that was like a then political slogan: Regardless, you control your state of being, so smile, because the power’s ours. The victory’s ours.
Roger Steffens: The forebodings came true in the midst of rehearsals around 8:30 in the evening. Two white Datsun compacts drove through the gates of Tuff Gong, from which the longtime guards had mysteriously disappeared. The exact number of gunmen who came leaping out, guns blazing, is a subject of controversy. There could have been as many as seven or eight, armed with machine guns and pistols, some reportedly containing homemade bullets. They went room to room, often firing wildly. Continue reading →