Toots and the Maytals, the legendary Jamaican group known for coining the term “reggae,” brought both new and classic material to The Tonight Show stage on Wednesday night (July 25), proving that time hasn’t slowed the iconic group down.
“Funky Kingston,” a track that appeared on a 1975 album of the same name that helped expose the world to the reggae, sounded fresh and updated. The group’s experience allowed them to accent each other’s sound and seamlessly pull off a tempo change mid-song. Wearing an oversized bucket hat and dark shades, vocalist Frederick Nathaniel “Toots” Hibbert sang out, “People keep on asking me for, Funky Kingston / But I ain’t got none,” with the same gravelly voice that helped to define the group’s sound so many years ago.
Over four decades, all the elements that helped define the group’s sound have remained intact: from their colorful guitar rhythms, tight snare drum pops, rock-solid basslines and soul-stirring backup singers.
The band’s second song of the night, “Marley,” a tribute the most popular name in reggae, Bob Marley, is a fresh track that they performed live for for the first time. “Talkin’ about Marley/ They’re singing about Marley,” Hibbert, 75, crooned, dancing in place and shimmying side-to-side over the tune’s classic island bounce. “This song is a great song. It’s a new song and the first place I’m going to play this is on Jimmy Fallon,” the singer said while grinning ear to ear.
Check out the performances below.