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Loving Reggae

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Album Review

The Maytones (Vern Buckley and Gladstone "Son" Grant) were a Jamaican harmony duo whose seemingly effortless two-part harmonies rode over simple, unassuming rural rhythms, making them one of the best reggae rootsacts of the 1970s. Alvin Ranglin's unadorned production style complimented Vern Buckley's simple and wise compositions perfectly, and the Maytones deserve to be much better known than they are. This collection from Charly Records lacks some key tracks ("Madness," "Bongo Man Rise"), but compensates for it by including some more obscure cuts, making it a good supplementary Maytones purchase. The Justin Hinds-like "Boat to Zion," included here, is a particular delight, along with the moving "Africa We Want to Go."


Formed: 1968 in Kingston, Jamaica

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

The Maytones were actually the duo of lead singer Vern Buckley and backing vocalist Gladstone "Son" Grant. The pair were neighbors in May Pen, a rural market town, a background that deeply influenced their vocal style. Buckley moved to Kingston first and eventually began backing Trevor Lloyd, who seems to have introduced him to Alvin Ranglin. The timing is murky here, as is Grant's arrival, but late 1967 is a best approximation. In 1968, the group recorded a handful of singles, all self-produced...
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