Toots and the Maytals

Monday, June 19, 2006
5:57 PM

UEA LCR, Norwich

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UEA LCR, Norwich

Reggae legend Frederick 'Toots' Hibbert and his band the Maytals showed why he has had such a long and successful career with an impassioned concert in Norwich last night.

Now aged 60, but with the energy of a man half his age, Hibbert blasted through a greatest hits set that borrowed heavily from his classic 1972 album Funky Kingston.

That album's pounding title track was followed by his Reggae Got Soul, the titles of both songs illustrating Hibbert's approach to reggae: powerful and soulful, like a Jamaican Otis Redding, whipping the crowd up into a frenzy.

Way back in the late 60s Hibbert was credited with naming a burgeoning form of Jamaican music in his song Do the Reggae - which got a rapturous reception - and he has maintained a presence as an ambassador for the music which has carried him around the world over the last four decades. The set stuck with tried and tested favourites, opening with Pressure Drop and throwing in his well-loved version of Take Me Home Country Roads (which lead him to West Jamaica rather than John Denver's West Virginia).

After a lull in which Hibbert and the audience caught their breath, perhaps the biggest cheer of the night came when he raised the tempo again with Monkey Man.

It was a measure of the crowd's affection for him that when he said he “loved London” and then twice had to ask which city he was actually in, no-one seemed to mind in the slightest.

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