We’re So Sorry, Toots! We Grovel in Apology!

Toots Hibbert
Toots Hibbert

In the pantheon of Reggae gods, there surely will be an elevated place for Frederick “Toots” Hibbert. In my mind, he would be revered as Apollo to Bob Marley’s Zeus. I’ll never forget watching, “The Harder They Come,” the 1972 Jamaican film starring Jimmy Cliff as a gangster turned reggae star. The stand-out tunes, in an album of classic songs, came from Toots and the Maytals — “Pressure Drop” and “Sweet and Dandy.”

Hibbert went on to compose reggae anthem “Funky Kingston” and give the world’s greatest reinterpretation of the old John Denver song, “Country Road.”

If I ever got around to composing a list of my Top 10 favorite bands of all time, Toots and the Maytals would be on it. Therefore, it was with great frustration that I attended a long-scheduled social engagement Saturday night rather than go down to the Dominion Riverrock Festival on the James River to listen to Toots Hibbert and his band.

Perhaps it’s just as well that I didn’t make it because I don’t know what kind of blood lust would have overcome me when some lunkhead tossed a Vodka bottle, hitting Hibbert square in the head, causing profuse bleeding and ending the concert. What a hideous embarrassment to the Richmond community! It is some small consolation to read in the Times-Dispatch that the alleged offender, 19-year-old William C. Lewis, was apprehended on the spot with the assistance of the crowd. Lewis should be darned grateful that he wasn’t lynched.

The 71-year-old Hibbert handled the incident well. Said Stephen Lecky, the festival manager who drove him to Virginia Commonwealth University hospital, “He was lucid. He was laughing. He was tired obviously. He had had a very long day. … He was one of the nicest men I ever met.” What a class act.


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7 responses to “We’re So Sorry, Toots! We Grovel in Apology!”

  1. DJRippert Avatar

    Wow! Jim Bacon has an interest outside of human development patterns. Hoots and the Maytals was / is a great band. And The Harder They Come is an iconic reggae movie. However, I have to go with “Johnnie Too Bad” as the song to remember in that film / album. Never heard much more from The Slickers after that – at least I don’t recall any other hits.

    “One of these days when you hear a voice say come
    Where you gonna run to
    One of these days when you hear a voice say come
    Where you gonna run to

    You’re gonna run to the rock for rescue
    There will be no rock
    You’re gonna run to the rock for rescue
    There will be no rock”

    1. “Johnny Too Bad” was great, too! Every song on that album was a Reggae classic.

  2. DJRippert Avatar

    As for the idiot who threw the vodka bottle – “There will be no rock”.

  3. larryg Avatar

    I bet this kind of stuff don’t happen at NoVa concerts!

  4. Richard Avatar

    By the Rivers of Babylon
    Many Rivers to Cross (heard it on the radio today)

  5. DJRippert Avatar

    They don’t make ’em like that anymore.

    Oh wait …

    Maybe they do …

    The wildly popular reggae band Soldiers of Jah Army (SOJA)


    Arlington, VA

    From NoVa with love, Jim.


    1. I enjoyed the video. Pretty good for a bunch of (mostly) white boys.

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