Toots & the Maytals

Ska Father

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Although the original incarnation of Toots & the Maytals (Toots Hibbert, Nathaniel "Jerry" McCarthy, and Raleigh Gordon) parted ways in 1981, Toots resurfaced in the early '90s with a revamped version of the group, and has continued to put out albums on various small labels ever since, including this one on Alla Son Records in 1998, which recasts earlier Maytals rocksteady hits like "Broadway Jungle" and "Pressure Drop" as lightly speeded-up ska. Nothing here reaches the fiery gospel fervor of the Leslie Kong-produced originals, but Toots has the kind of voice that would make a sung grocery list sound substantial and funky, so although Ska Father is hardly essential, it isn't a disaster either. "Broadway Jungle '98" refines the ragged, loose funk of the original version, coming out as a bit more studied, but it is still fun, and "Pressure Drop" is only slight less ominous in the speeded-up version presented here. Toots also tackles the Kinks' "You Really Got Me" in ska style, which is definitely interesting. The album closes with dub versions of "You Really Got Me," "Broadway Jungle," and "The Right and the Wrong Way."

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