For my money, the most lush and soulful treatment of the civil rights anthem, “We Shall Overcome,” was achieved by Toots and the Maytals. And in the same year the last legislation was enacted during the civil rights era, Frederick “Toots” Hibbert also assuaged, “I know, oh yes, I know, yeah / I’m going to live to see everyone free, free, free, free” in the rousingly beautiful “I Shall Be Free.”
Toots is still a man of well-timed hopefulness at a time of social upheaval. The roots reggae icons are back with a forthcoming album, Got to Be Tough. The LP follows 2010’s Flip and Twist and arrives August 28th via Trojan Jamaica/BMG.
On 1972’s Funky Kingston album, Hibbert resets the scenery of “West Virginia” to “West Jamaica” in his lilting take of John Denver’s “Country Roads.” Toots has penned another paean to his native Jamaica, as illustrated in the new video for “Got to Be Tough,” the band’s first single in over 10 years.
The title track sets an example of moral courage when encountering today’s world and its exigencies: “Just in case you never know / Or maybe you forget / Your days are getting shorter / Our youths are getting slaughtered.”
Watch the animated video for “Got to Be Tough,” created by Nick Frank.
Got to Be Tough Tracklist:
01. Drop Off Head
02. Just Brutal
03. Got To Be Tough
04. Freedom Train
05. Warning Warning
06. Good Thing That You Call
07. Stand Accuse
08. Three Little Birds Ft. Ziggy Marley
09. Having A Party