Recorded at Chris Blackwell’s glorious tropical Strawberry Hill overlooking Kingston, this is an unfamiliar unplugged stripped-down Toots. Accompanied by a small gathering including his two daughters on vocals and his son on bass, this sparse treatment breathes new life into songs that have been heard and performed countless times over the years. ‘Pressure Drop’ for instance seems to become stronger by a simple instrumental background from a strummed reggae acoustic guitar, while a slowed-down ‘Time Tough’ gets a heartfelt treatment reminiscent of the soul greats from the Stax era. The twelve tracks have a live and unpolished quality, and within these you will of course find the songs you’d have a right to expect including Funky Kingston, Sweet and Dandy, 54-46 Was My Number and the tune that started it all, Do the Reggay. The CD is released together with a bonus DVD documentary – ‘Reggae Got Soul’ – including live Toots footage from German television’s Rockpalast in 1981.

If you are quick, you may still catch Toots in live concert at the Beacons Festival (17th-19th August) in glorious tropical Skipton, Yorkshire.

Toots and the Maytals: Unplugged on Strawberry Hill, released August 2012

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