Funky Kingston

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Funky Kingston
Funky Kingston cover.jpg
Studio album by
Releasedcirca March / April 1972 (UK)
1975 (US)
Dynamic Sounds Studios (Kingston),
Island Studios (Notting Hill)
LabelDragon Records (Jamaica, U.K.)
Mango Records (U.S.)
ProducerChris Blackwell,
Warwick Lyn,
Dave Bloxham
Toots and the Maytals chronology
Slatyam Stoot Funky Kingston
In the Dark

Funky Kingston is the name of two albums by reggae singing group Toots and the Maytals. The first was issued in Jamaica and the United Kingdom in 1972 on Dragon Records, DRLS 5002, a subsidiary label of Island Records, owned by Chris Blackwell.[2] A different album, with the same cover and title, was issued in the United States in 1975 on Mango Records, MLPS 9330. That album peaked at #164 on the Billboard 200 and was voted the eleventh best album of 1975 in the annual Pazz & Jop poll.[3] In 2003, the American version was placed at number 378 on Rolling Stone's list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.[4]


Funky Kingston acknowledged American rhythm and blues with covers of songs by Ike Turner and Shep and the Limelites, along with a reggae take on Richard Berry's composition, "Louie Louie".[citation needed] The track "Funky Kingston" came from a suggestion by producer Chris Blackwell who noted the success of The Beginning of the End's 1971 semi-crossover hit "Funky Nassau".[5]

In 1975, a revised version of the album was released in the United States. It kept only three tracks from the Jamaican album, substituting six taken from the follow-up In the Dark, adding in the 1969 "Pressure Drop" single which had been previously issued on album with The Harder They Come.[citation needed]

On March 25, 2003, Funky Kingston was released on compact disc by Universal complete in its original format, along with the Jamaican In the Dark album and the "Pressure Drop" single.[6]


When the music for this album was recorded at Dynamic Sound Studios in Kingston, reggae music was little known outside of its native Jamaica, other than in musical circles. The first international release by The Wailers, Catch A Fire, would not be until 1973. Awareness of reggae began to change in 1972 with the release of the seminal film The Harder They Come (1972), which became a cult hit that year in the UK, with its soundtrack featuring two numbers by the Maytals.[7] The Maytals had been consistent hit makers in Jamaica during the 1960s, and had even given the genre its name with their single "Do the Reggay". As he would with the Wailers the following year, producer Chris Blackwell tailored the Maytals for the international market on this album.[8]

Appearances in other media[edit]

The title track, "Funky Kingston", appears in the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas video game soundtrack, on the fictitious radio station K-Jah West. It also features as the opening theme for the reality show Miami Ink.[citation needed] It was the basis for the "Funky Vodka" track, which in turn fueled "Don't Stop The Party". The song can be heard in the film "Notes On A Scandal" where the Hart family can be seen dancing to it. The song "Time Tough" was featured on the soundtrack for Tony Hawk's Project 8.


Professional ratings
Review scores
Allmusic4/5 stars[9]
Robert ChristgauA−[10]
Rolling Stone5/5 stars[11]
Sputnikmusic4.0/5 stars[12]

Given the significant differences between the two versions of this album, critical reception varies depending on which version is being reviewed. (The Allmusic rating is based on the original Jamaican release[13] while the review is of the US release "arguably their best album".[9]) The reception of the US release invariably regards it as a classic given its inclusion in several "best of" lists. The original Rolling Stone review states that "this is the cream of their crop, with a couple of exceptions".[14] Funky Kingston, Toots and the Maytals’ first release to be distributed by Chris Blackwell’s Island Records label proved to be a critical triumph. Rock critic Lester Bangs, writing in Stereo Review, described the album as “perfection, the most exciting and diversified set of reggae tunes by a single artist yet released.[15]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Frederick "Toots" Hibbert except as indicated.

Side one[edit]

  1. "Sit Right Down" — 4:44
  2. "Pomp And Pride" — 4:30
  3. "Louie, Louie" (Richard Berry) — 5:46
  4. "I Can't Believe" (Ike Turner) — 3:29

Side two[edit]

  1. "Redemption Song" — 3:26
  2. "Daddy's Home" (James Sheppard, Clarence Bassett, Charles Baskerville) — 5:05
  3. "Funky Kingston" — 4:54
  4. "It Was Written Down" — 3:04

1975 track listing[edit]

Side one[edit]

  1. "Time Tough" — 4:23
  2. "In the Dark" (F. Hibbert, E. Chin) — 2:48
  3. "Funky Kingston" — 4:54
  4. "Love is Gonna Let Me Down" — 3:15 listed as "Love's Gonna Walk Out on Me" on Jamaican release
  5. "Louie, Louie" (Richard Berry) — 5:46

Side two[edit]

  1. "Pomp and Pride" — 4:30
  2. "Got to Be There" — 3:06
  3. "Country Road" (Bill Danoff, John Denver, Taffy Nivert) — 3:23
  4. "Pressure Drop" — 3:46
  5. "Sailin' On" — 3:35



Chart (1976) Peak
Billboard Pop Albums[16] 164


  1. ^ Funky Kingston Dragon – DRLS 5002
  2. ^ Katz, David. Funky Kingston/In the Dark. Island Records 440 077 076-2, 2003, liner notes.
  3. ^ "The 1975 Pazz & Jop Critics Poll". The Village Voice. December 29, 1975. Retrieved 12 Aug 2011.
  4. ^ Levy, Joe; Steven Van Zandt (2006) [2005]. "378 | Funky Kingston - Toots and the Maytals". Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814. Retrieved 12 Aug 2011.
  5. ^ ‘Reggae Got Soul’ documentary film
  6. ^ Funky Kingston / In The Dark
  7. ^ Miller, Jim, ed. The Rolling Stone Illustrated Encyclopedia of Rock & Roll. New York: Random House, 1980, p. 447.
  8. ^ Katz, liner notes.
  9. ^ a b Deming, Mark. Toots & the Maytals Funky Kingston (Mango Reissue) at AllMusic. Retrieved 27 Apr 2007.
  10. ^ Christgau, Robert. "Toots and the Maytals: Funky Kingston > Consumer Guide Review". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 14 Aug 2008.
  11. ^ Miles, Milo (April 22, 2003). "Toots and the Maytals Funky Kingston/In The Dark > Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 9 June 2008. Retrieved 18 Aug 2011.
  12. ^ g, manos (16 August 2014). "Review: CD Toots & The Maytals - Funky Kingston Album". Sputnikmusic. Retrieved 2015-01-01.
  13. ^ Leggett, Steve. Funky Kingston at AllMusic. Retrieved 18 August 2011.
  14. ^ Davis, Stephen (December 4, 1975). "Toots and the Maytals Funky Kingston > Album Review". Rolling Stone (201). Archived from the original on 14 February 2008. Retrieved 27 April 2007.
  15. ^ "Toots and the Maytals." Contemporary Musicians. . 6 Oct. 2016 <>.
  16. ^ Toots & the Maytals Funky Kingston > Charts & Awards > Billboard Albums at AllMusic. Retrieved 2007-04-27.

External links[edit]