CD Heart of the Congos [VP] (CD 376829),
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Heart of the Congos [VP]

  • 1. Fisherman
    2. Congoman
    3. Open up the Gate
    4. Children Crying
    5. La la Bam-Bam
    6. Can't Come In
    7. Sodom and Gomorrow
    8. Wrong Thing, The
    9. Ark of the Covenant
    10. Solid Foundation
  • Additional Info
    Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 1287

  • Credits
    ProducerThe Congos

    The original version of HEART OF THE CONGOS is available on VP (1287).
    The Congos: Cedric Myton, "Congo Ashanti" Roy Johnson (vocals).
    Additional personnel: Ernest Ranglin, Robert "Billy" Johnson (guitar); Keith Stewart (piano); Winston "Brubeck" Wright (organ, bass); Boris Gardiner, Geoffrey Chung (bass); Lowell "Sly" Dunbar, Mikey "Boo" Richards, Paul (drums); Noel "Skully" Simms, Uziah "Sticky" Thompson, Lee Perry (percussion); The Meditations, Watty "King" Burnett, Gregory Isaacs, Earl Morgan, Barry Llewellyn, Candy McKenzie (background vocals).
    Recorded at The Black Ark, Kingston, Jamaica in 1976 and 1977. Includes liner notes by Bob Harding and Steve Barrow.
    All tracks have been digitally remastered.
    Personnel: Ernest Ranglin (guitar); Keith Sterling (piano); W. Wright (organ); Michael Richards, Sly Dunbar (drums); Brother Joe, Scully (percussion).
    Audio Mixer: Lee "Scratch" Perry.
    Recording information: Black Art Studious.
    HEART OF THE CONGOS is a landmark reggae album whose initial obscurity was due to a dispute between producer Lee Perry and his label, Island Records. Perry's idea to create a roots vocal album took shape when Cedric Myton and Roy Johnson auditioned at his Black Ark Studio. The resulting album had Myton and Johnson wrapping their falsetto and tenor around one another in the sweetly rendered "Children Crying" and "La La Bam-Bam."
    Perry's production lent HEART OF THE CONGOS a hazy, dub-like sheen that swathed the Rastafarian imagery of songs such as "Sodom & Gomorrow" and "Ark Of Covenant" in muted shadings. Backed by a number of legendary session musicians including Sly Dunbar and Ernest Ranglin, HEART OF THE CONGOS could have been a smash, had Perry not held back the record from Island Records who handled his international distribution. Instead, it became a lost classic cherished by countless reggae aficionados. This special two-disc package is an expanded version of the album, included extra songs and alternate mixes.

  • Critic Reviews
    Spin (6/96, p.112) - 10 (out of 10) - "...a full-length revival meeting in the Promised Land of the Rasta faithfull....Perry knots electronic and handmade beats with conusmmate ease while Ranglin and Wright deliver unobtrusive solos that etch like slow acid. The album swims in hazy tones, shot through with mammoth bass rumbles and slow, sweet moans..."
    Melody Maker (1/20/96, p.30) - Recommended - "...the last brilliant roots reggae record ever made....Lee Perry...swathes the background in trademark steppin' bubble swirls and punctuates with typical pin-point percussion, but leaves the foreground to the voice of Cedric Mayton....nothing here is less than astonishing..."
    NME (Magazine) (1/20/96, p.43) - 9 (out of 10) - "...a religious journey into the unknown that dissolved genre boundaries and heralded soon-to-come Armageddon....The main vocalists...use their contrasting styles to create a sense of dread, wonderment and divine meditation..."
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