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Heart of the Congos

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Editors’ Notes

Though 1977’s Heart of the Congos is, arguably, the quintessential roots reggae album, its breathtaking innovations transcend genre limitations. Reggae had little precedent for the high, crystalline vocals of Cedric Myton and Ashanti Roy, much less Watty Burnett’s splendid rasping baritone. Tunes like “Congoman” are built around the pulse of a primitive rhythm box, but it’s embellished with a bassline that still sounds audaciously futuristic. On “Fisherman”, they paint a subtle portrait of Jamaican life while imparting a sense of overwhelming spiritual grandeur. And producer Lee “Scratch” Perry graced the album with some of his most visionary work.

Biography

Formed: Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A duo comprised of Cedric Myton and Roydel "Ashanti" Johnson, the Congos are known primarily known for one record, Heart of the Congos, released in 1977. Reggae historian Steve Barrow, one of the people behind the exquisite reissue of this long-thought-lost record, considers it as good as seminal reggae recordings such as Bob Marley and the Wailers' Natty Dread, Burning Spear's Marcus Garvey, and the Mighty Diamonds' Right Time. This is not an exaggeration. Myton and Johnson, working...
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Heart of the Congos, The Congos
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