Toots and the Maytals Re-Imagined By Until The Ribbon Breaks

Until The Ribbon Breaks has released a remix and accompanying video for legendary Jamaican musical pioneers Toots and The Maytals‘ hit single “Got To Be Tough” (the title track of the album released in August via Trojan Jamaica / BMG). The gritty “reimagination” comes just weeks after the Maytals’ iconic frontman Frederick “Toots” Hibbert‘s untimely death on September 11th.
 
UTRB, as the one-man band moniker of Pete Lawrie-Winfield is sometimes abbreviated, has delivered a stirring reinterpretation of a song that had already taken the 77-year old Toots back to the top of the U.S. college radio charts and propelled the album Got To Be Tough, to the number one spot on the NielsenSoundScan Current Reggae Albums chart. 
 
The new mix begins with a melancholic piano refrain, while an unidentified man bemoans the latest spate of nationwide police brutality, and observes how very little has changed over time. This sets the stage for the familiar voice of U.S. Senator Corey Booker with a sound byte and sentiment that gets repeated throughout the track — “everything about us is interwoven, it is interconnected, we are in relationship with each other.” The horn line and boom bap of the drums that follow, harken the militancy of 90’s hip hop. Toots’ lyric “this is a warning” now receives new immediacy, as it also becomes a key repetitive focal point of the remix.
 
Keeping in line with Toots’ lifelong struggle against injustice, all proceeds from the single sales, available exclusively on UTRB’s Bandcamp profile HERE, are being directed to Black Lives Matter.
 
The video, which was also edited by UTRB, features a host of civil rights icons speaking out against a montage backdrop of brutality and injustice throughout the decades. The message is always one of strength and hope from historic figures like Jesse JacksonAndrew YoungC.T. VivianPaul Robeson, and Rosa Parks, who, in the opening sequence, recalls standing up to unjust authority, which led to her infamous 1955 arrest for violating Alabama’s segregation laws.
 
The clip first appeared in New York Magazine’s entertainment news website Vulture this week as part of a Toots tribute article that shared warm remembrances from musical luminaries like Ziggy MarleyBonnie RaittShaggyDebbie Harry, and Ben Harper, as well as Trojan Jamaica label co-chiefs and Got To Be Tough album creative collaborators Zak Starkey and Sharna “Sshh” Liguz.
 
Of the remix, Until The Ribbon Breaks founder Pete Lawrie-Winfield told Vulture:
I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to present this to Toots just a few weeks before his tragic passing earlier this month. I made this Re – imagination and accompanying video, not only as my own small way of giving voice to what is such an important movement, in such a crucial time – but also, because how often do you get the opportunity to work for an actual Legend?!. We continue to lose our heroes year on year, those who literally dedicated an entire lifetime to fearless expression. Inspiring entire generations, future artists and in Toots’s case – giving voice to the silent, Remarkably, at 77 years old, Toots was still doing exactly that – still singing about the injustices of a world that will be worse without him. Luckily for all of us, we have the music, the legacy and the lessons. Rest in blaring horns and dub sirens Toots, I think I know which kind of peace you preferred.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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