Happy birthday, Toots!Tuesday, December 08, 2020
BY BRIAN BONITTO
TODAY, legendary singer Frederick “Toots” Hibbert would have celebrated his 78th birthday. It is a bitter-sweet occasion for Jackie Jackson, his bass player of 52 years.
“We had plans, from early in the year, with his family, to celebrate the day with a big birthday bash at his house,” Jackson told the Jamaica Observer yesterday. “But we'll use the day to remember the good times we had on the road [touring] and in the studio, and they were many. We'll remember him in joy and in the happy times, as that's the sort of person he was.”
Hibbert — a pioneer of ska, rocksteady, and reggae — died on September 11 from complications brought on by COVID-19.
Jackson said there are plans to put the The Maytals band on road with a yet-titled album in 2021.
“We have our show together. Upon the pandemic going away, wi gone! It will be the best way to honour him. He would have wanted it that way. The Maytals band is looking forward to keep his music and his memory alive,” said Jackson. “The album is three-quarter ready. We have 12 songs. It'll be out before summer.”
Toots and The Maytals is one of five acts recently nominated in the Best Reggae Album category of the Grammy Awards. The band got the nod for Got to Be Tough, released in August.
“I expected the nomination for the mere fact that it was our first album in 10 years. It's a good album. We put everything into it. Love and sweat went into the making of the album, and once love is in it, you expect it to be rewarded... And now it has been nominated, we're going to win the Grammy,” he said confidently.
Released by Trojan Jamaica/BMG, Got to Be Tough debuted on the Billboard Reggae Album Chart at number nine and 69 on Billboard's Top Current Album Sales Chart. It is also the top seller on the US Current Reggae Albums Chart.
Also nominated for Best Reggae Album are: Skip Marley — Higher Place; Maxi Priest — It All Comes Back to Love; The Wailers — One World; and Buju Banton — Upside Down 2020.
Toots and The Maytals won the category in 2005 with True Love.
“It's an honour to be nominated and we're grateful. Hats off to the other nominees, they are all great artistes,” said Jackson.
The veteran said he will be watching the televised Grammy Awards from the Staple Center in Los Angeles on January 31.
“If there was no COVID, I would be there in California, as I know we're gonna win,” he added.
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