‘When I got out of jail I had a sense of injustice. [Pressure Drop] is a song about revenge : if you do bad things to innocent people, bad things will happen to you.’ (Toots HIbbert)
( Jackie Jackson, Bass player on Pressure Drop) : ‘In 1975 we supported The Who playing to 90,000 people in California. The crowd just stood there staring – like they were going to have us for their supper. We said – what the hell are we going to do? Someone suggested opening with Pressure Drop.
The Place erupted!’
You reap what you sow.
You really do.
The temptation is to deceive yourself that whatever you want to do, no matter the disastrous effect it has on other lives, is just fine.
But, Life, God, The Universe, will not be mocked.
Oh, you might ‘get away’ from retribution for years and years and years believing you have been granted special immunity.
But, but, but … me and Toots & The Maytals are here to tell you, directly and with vigour that sooner or later, sooner or later, the wind will change, tne water will rise, the flames will appear and you will be consumed.
Toots doesn’t seek revenge like a warrior rejoicing in his own strength and the defeat of those who have done him harm.
Rather, with certain faith and with joy in his heart he celebrates the truth that balance will always be restored.
It’s just a matter of Time.
The glass will record the approaching storm
The Pressure will Drop.
Look out Brother.
The Pressure is most assuredly gonna Drop on you!
What a glorious riot!
Toots as a singer and songwriter seems to me to be a natural mystic.
Underpinning all his performances and recordings is a gospel fervour, a preacher’s call seeking an open hearted Amen from his audience.
And, tell me who, who, in tne whole wide world, swept away by the majestic vocals and rhythmic ecstasy of Pressure Drop, will fail to shake the rafters with Amen after Amen after Amen!
Toots was a veteran of the ska and rocksteady scenes and a Founding Father of Reggae when he came to record Pressure Drop for producer Leslie Kong in 1969.
Incredibly, Pressure Drop was cut live in tne studio in one take.
Toots an inspirational figure and born leader dives straight in introducing the melody with the most brilliant and affecting humming ever committed to tape.
The Maytals, Raleigh Gordon and Jerry Mathias, empathetically echo and urge Toots forward throughout every beat of the record.
Together they became an unmatched rhapsodic vocal trio bursting with love of life and music.
Keeping everything bubbling away at exactly the right temperature was the exquisite guitar of Huck Brown, the soul deep bass and drums of Jackie Jackson and Winston Grennan and the majestic Organ of Winston Wright.
Pressure Drop is one of those rare songs that has organic unity – it just flows.
Now, if you ever get the chance to see Toots & The Maytals live – don’t hesitate just go!
Take the plane, take the train, drive.
But, even if you have to walk all the way – get there.
Because Toots live is an experience of unbounded Joy.
Oh, and make sure to wear the right shoes.
Because from the minute he hits the stage you’re gonna be up out of your seat – lurching, laughing and dancing until you think you can’t dance no more.
Then Toots will start humming and kick off Pressure Drop and you’ll find yourself dancing like you’ve never danced before.
Chris Blackwell the founder of Island Records has called Toots HIbbert, ‘One of the purest human beings I’ve met in my life, pure almost to a fault.’
Toots served an 18 month prison sentence in 1966/67.
In 2013 Toots received a serious head injury from a bottle thrown at him from the crowd.
Knowing the reality of life behind bars he had the purity of heart to write to a Judge requesting that the perpetrator not be sent to Prison as this would only increase Toots own pain and suffering.
Many listeners were introduced to Toots through the inclusion of Pressure Drop on the magnificent soundtrack record of the 1972 film, ‘The Harder They Come’ which also includes superb tracks from Jimmy Cliff and Desmond Dekker. No collection is complete without The Harder They Come.
While I was writing this post I was listening to ‘54-56 Was My Number’ a career spanning Toots & The Maytals anthology from the Sanctuary Label.
Toots & The Maytals have made some of the most uplifting and heartening Records ever issued.
Check out ‘Funky Kingston’ and, ‘Toots & The Maytals in Memphis’ – Records that will immeasurably boost your well being and become treasured lifetime companions.
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