BY S. FITZGERALD LODWICK In 1962, Toots Hibbert moved to Kingston, Jamaica and formed the original incarnation of The Maytals. Last night — some 45 years later– the TLA was graced with appearance by the godfather of reggae and the show he put on would shame men half his age. This diminutive, aging Rastafarian played one of the most dynamic two and a half hour sets I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness, and whaled with a voice that sounded like it could easily last another hundred years.
As those of royalty often do, Toots showed us, with mellow aplomb, why he is the undeniable King of Reggae — a living legend, who has influenced so many great ska/reggae artists, and yet does not receive a thousandth of the recognition, not to mention royalties, that the children of his genre are awarded. Certainly reggae and ska have evolved over the decades, but this central fact remains: It all started with Toots and the Maytals. The crowd shimmied and skanked to the decades old classics, as if the world were ending tomorrow and tonight was their last night on Earth.