Toots And The Maytals – Got To Be Tough


In stock


Release Date: 2020

Label: Trojan Jamaica


Track List

  1. Drop Off Head
  2. Just Brutal
  3. Got To Be Tough
  4. Freedom Train
  5. Warning Warning
  6. Good Thing That You Call
  7. Stand Accuse
  8. Three Little Birds  (feat. Ziggy Marley)
  9. Having A Party
  10. Struggle



For a welcome change, 2020’s Got to Be Tough doesn’t treat Hibbert like a fragile museum piece to be handled with excessive care. Instead, this set pairs him with a studio band that can generate a rhythm, some with real force and authority, and Hibbert answers in kind. Despite being 77 years old, Toots remains a force of nature when he sings, and when these tracks turn up the heat, he lets loose with a gritty, soul-satisfying wail that confirms, now as then, that he’s as compelling a singer as the islands have ever produced. Some tracks barely qualify as reggae — such as the hard R&B of “Just Brutal” and the slinky soul of “Good Thing That You Called” — though that doesn’t seem to mean so much to Hibbert as the fact that they prompt him to step up and sing with the authority he can still command, and that compensates for the lack of old school vibes. (And with Sly Dunbar and Cyril Neville among the session players, finding a righteous sound is never much of an issue.) As a lyricist, this isn’t one of Hibbert’s finest hours; “Education, it’s a must/School children has to take their bus” is among the cringe-worthy stanzas, and he has a lot of nerve calling “Three Little Birds” an original, even if Ziggy Marley stops by to give his blessings and add a guest vocal. Singing, however, is always what Toots has done best, and Got to Be Tough confirms that he takes a back seat to no one when he steps up to the mike, and its arrival is a joyous occasion.

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