Now and then, it’s nice for a change of pace. This includes journalism-related activities.
And so, in the spring of 2004, in Flagstaff, Arizona, I lined up an interview with iconic reggae singer Toots Hibbert. The freelance magazine assignment took place during a Toots & the Maytals concert (I scribbled down notes during the show) and afterward (about a 20- or 30-minute interview in his dressing room back stage after the show).
The interview touched upon a lot of topics: decades of performing, musical influences, friendship with Bob Marley and Jimmy Cliff, his role as a pioneer in Jamaican music, the relationship with the audience.
We covered a lot of material in a short period of time.
I didn’t have to lie and pretend I enjoyed the show. It was lively, quality music, a spirited crowd, a legendary performer still at the top of his profession at age 61.
I told him that for many years I especially enjoyed an album he recorded in Memphis, “Toots In Memphis.” I mentioned one of his songs was a real favorite, “Beautiful Woman,” with an unforgettable line: ”Beautiful woman will drive you crazy.”
He smiled and said, “You should have cried out for it, man!”
He was right.
Sure, I was at the concert as a journalist, but I could’ve done double duty as a fan. That song, which wasn’t performed would’ve been a hit at cozy Orpheum Theater, too.