Album: Toots and the Maytals

True Love, V2
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The Independent Culture

Frederick "Toots" Hibbert is a giant of Jamaican music, one of its definitive voices. Not only did he coin the term "reggae", but his catalogue of ska and reggae standards rates second only to Bob Marley's. A figure fully deserving, then, of acclaim - even the slightly dubious tribute that is True Love, an album that finds Toots and band re-tooling old classics in the company of guest collaborators. This is fine when it's Bootsy Collins and The Roots - or "Toots, Roots and Boots", as the former P-Funker puts it - bringing a suitably celebratory party-time manner to "Funky Kingston", but rather less essential when it's Ryan Adams struggling to stay in the same key as Toots on "Time Tough". Likewise, the benefits of Eric Clapton ladling wah-wah guitar all over "Pressure Drop", and Jeff Beck adding his stunt-guitar flourishes to the prison song "54-46 Was My Number", remain debatable, although Keith Richards' guitar and vocal counterpoint on "Careless Ethiopians" are models of discretion. Most biz

Frederick "Toots" Hibbert is a giant of Jamaican music, one of its definitive voices. Not only did he coin the term "reggae", but his catalogue of ska and reggae standards rates second only to Bob Marley's. A figure fully deserving, then, of acclaim - even the slightly dubious tribute that is True Love, an album that finds Toots and band re-tooling old classics in the company of guest collaborators. This is fine when it's Bootsy Collins and The Roots - or "Toots, Roots and Boots", as the former P-Funker puts it - bringing a suitably celebratory party-time manner to "Funky Kingston", but rather less essential when it's Ryan Adams struggling to stay in the same key as Toots on "Time Tough". Likewise, the benefits of Eric Clapton ladling wah-wah guitar all over "Pressure Drop", and Jeff Beck adding his stunt-guitar flourishes to the prison song "54-46 Was My Number", remain debatable, although Keith Richards' guitar and vocal counterpoint on "Careless Ethiopians" are models of discretion. Most bizarrely successful, though, is Willie Nelson, who you'd imagine wouldn't share much with Toots, other than maybe a spliff; but his relaxed sprechstimme fits surprisingly well with Toots's soulful huskiness on Willie's own "Still Is Still Moving to Me".

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