Review Summary: Equally suitable for beginners or experienced listeners, Funky Kingston is a brilliant reggae album that everyone should listen at least once.
It might seem stereotypical but I really don’t mind; when I listen to reggae I think of palm trees, high temperatures, the ocean, slow rhythms and myself in a state of complete relaxation and euphoria. That doesn’t mean that reggae is all about relaxation; it can be deep and introspective or carry strong revolutionary messages and disperse them with outmost efficiency to folks like myself. Granted, when it comes to reggae I’m nearly scratching the surface of the genre. As with most people, I began by listening to Bob Marley and the Wailers and my knowledge is limited to a mere 25-30 artists. Nonetheless, when an album is as qualitative as the one under review, it really doesn’t matter how familiar is one with reggae.
is one of the most uplifting albums you’ll ever hear so do yourself a favor and put aside for a moment your doom, folk, prog, or whatever music you use for introspection and give this one a chance before the end of summer. However, don’t be mistaken because Funky Kingston
is not all sun and lying on a hammock. This is a well rounded reggae album having numerous soulful moments and even includes two covers of rhythm and blues songs. In addition, there’s a reggae version of the well known “Louie Louie”. In all honesty, there’s nothing not to like about this album even if one is a superficial reggae fan (like myself). Funky Kingston
can be a very suitable album for those who wish to get into the genre. One of the strengths of the album is the solid rhythm section that builds a solid platform on which Toots tells his stories.
A lot of the charm of this album though has to do with Frederick "Toots" Hibbert’s deep and soulful voice. Although he might not be characterized as a great singer “technically”, he is certainly gifted and sounds sincere; he has no trouble getting the message through and that’s all that matters. He’s not talking about spirituality in a Rastafarian manner but more about everyday life situations and struggles. The songwriting on here is on a very high level and the instrumentation is impeccable. In addition, the production is excellent and Funky Kingston
certainly sounds much better than early reggae albums that sounded as if they were recorded with the use of a single mic in the bottom of a well.
was released twice in 1972 (Jamaica) and 1975 as it went on to become a big success in the US market. The quality of the album was such that lead it to international success and positioned it on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. So do yourself a favor and forget your everyday problems by giving this album a listen.