January 31, 2015

The Congos - Heart Of The Congos (1977)

Otto: Heart Of The Congos is a dreamy and earthy reggae album with a perfectly dirty recording quality. The Congos harmonize on moody tracks and the bright, poppy reggae, but it all works well together, nothing too polarizing at all. This is one of the many great albums Lee Perry produced and features Sly Dunbar, the drumming one half of the legendary Sly and Robbie rhythm duo. The harmonies and atmosphere on Heart of the Congos definitely seem to have an influence on Bob Marley's late 70s work and especially the shadier feel Black Uhuru would pursue in the 80s. A reggae essential with some awesome melodies and songwriting that I recommend giving a listen.

Jody: I don't profess to be knowledgeable about reggae; I've listened to only a small portion of the greats, and I hope to soon expand my knowledge. That being said, this review was incredibly easy to write, due to The Congos' distinctive sound. People who say reggae is all the same must have listened to even less reggae than me. While it doesn't have the same extreme variety of hip-hop or rock, the more subtle changes still carry weight and easily distinguish between artists.

Melodic is the best word to describe this album. The instrumentation blends better than any reggae album I've heard, without losing the bounce. You can more distinctly hear African influences on this album, as they utilize African percussion, but the vocals are strange to hear on reggae. At points it sounds almost like a choir, but more relaxed and of course with Jamaican accents. The album got a large amount of recognition in Jamaica for their undeniable talent and Lee Perry's masterful production, but the rest of the world only recently began to catch on. An essential for any extensive reggae collection.


Heart Of The Congos