Fifty-one years ago, Horace Andy had a big hit song with ‘Fever’, his reggae version of a track made famous by American stylist Peggy Lee. Rock singer Maia the Toad adds a fresh flavor to Andy’s cover with a rendition produced by Errol “General Smiley” Bennett.
The American artist’s cut was released in November by General Smiley’s RuffCompany Records, based in Los Angeles. It is done on a revamped beat Andy did his version for Studio One in 1972.
For her second reggae song, Maia The Toad was determined to do justice to a song first done by American blues singer Little John in 1956, and made world-famous two years later by Lee, then one of the top jazz singers in the United States.
“My big goal was to make both Peggy Lee fans and reggae people from all over the world share a positive experience together when listening to the song. I tried to maintain as many elements from the original as possible by trying to replicate Peggy Lee’s velvety vocals, while adding a little more dancehall for the reggae lovers,” she explained.
Maia The Toad, who is from Tucson, Arizona, first did a reggae song in 2019. That track was ‘Planet Jam’, which was done for ‘Nebular’, her first album.
Interestingly, General Smiley’s recording career started at Studio One in the late 1970s. He was part of a successful deejay duo with Papa Michigan, that recorded two big songs (‘Rub A Dub Style’ and ‘Nice Up the Dance’) for that label and its owner Clement “Coxson” Dodd.