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The Congos-Heart of the Congos

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  • The Congos-Heart of the Congos


    The Congos-Heart of the Congos
    This is one of those rare records where everything came together--the vocal parts, the band, the back-up singers, and the producer, Lee "Scratch" Perry, known for his eccentric approach to recording -- and make for a performance that is full of surprises, from the wonderful falsetto of Cedric Myton, and tight vocal harmonies, to the driving rhythm section of The Upsetters. But, it was Perry who added the magic--the record has many quirky sound effects, all done in a pretty basic studio in Perry's backyard. We take a look at the Blood & Fire remaster, now out of print, which is, in many ways, the definitive version of this record, short of finding a scarce original Jamaican pressing. This is reggae that crosses over into a close harmony vocal album filled with spirit. Essential.

  • #2
    Well it looks like you have a few spare copies!

    I stumbled upon them with Roon last year. It's amazing what a data mining program like Roon can do with someone like Lee Perry!!
    Turntable: - 1. Fairchild 750/OMA slate plinth
    2. Analog Engineering AE-2008 MinusK support.
    Tonearm: 1. Schroder Custom
    2. Schick 12"
    3. Abis SA-1
    Cartridge: Miyajima Kansui and Premium BE Mono
    PhonoPre: AprilSound LR, EMIA Strain Gauge, EMIA silver SUT
    CD: Wadia 860x
    Server: Innuos Zen Mini Mk3
    DAC: Computer Audio Design 1543 Mk2
    Preamp: Bent Audio TAP-X w silver autoformers
    Amplifier: AprilSound SET50 monoblocks
    Speaker: Pioneer PAX-30C


    • #3
      Great album of music but the couple of copies i have are less than stellar in terms of SQ.


      • Bill Hart
        Bill Hart commented
        Editing a comment
        Do you have the Blood & Fire remaster from the mid-'90s?

    • #4
      Discogs shows 33 versions of HoTC. early 1st or 2nd press start at $200+ and shows one traded at $1,100. Bill, which pressing is the best compromise between availability (cost) and SQ?


      • #5
        Originally posted by Rob View Post
        Discogs shows 33 versions of HoTC. early 1st or 2nd press start at $200+ and shows one traded at $1,100. Bill, which pressing is the best compromise between availability (cost) and SQ?
        Rob- i haven't listened to all of them. The Blood & Fire, which is a 2 LP issue, has the additional tracks, and is considered the best extant. I say that b/c I have not listened to all the various versions- there is a piece I noted by David Katz (fn 3 of my article) that explains the history of the different mixes and pressings. The Go-Feet (the UK Beat version, not the later Go-Feet/VP version) is another possibility, because the mastering engineer, Denis Blackham, has had a long, good history, but as noted, I haven't listened to it. I was not impressed with the Simply Vinyl issue taken from the Blood & Fire remaster. The Blood & Fire typically goes for close to $100 in top condition, maybe a little cheaper. Blood & Fire also released it on CD, which is likely the cheapest way to get the best copy, for now. I don't know when the new VP remaster on LP is going to materialize.
        FWIW, this thing is not a sonic spectacular but the Blood & Fire sounds very good-- Perry used a TEAC 4 track to make the thing, and bounced tracks, used outboard phaser and other devices, so it has this spacey sound, not hi-fi, but cool in a bass-y, sound-effects way, mixed with crazy good vocal harmonies and falsetto. Maybe the trick if you have a CD player is to find the Blood & Fire CD and if you like it, spend the money for a clean copy of the Blood & Fire 2 LP set. It is really a seminal reggae album, and I like the music a lot--Row, Fisherman, Row is an addictive listen- because it mixes falsetto, tight vocal harmonies and has that reggae beat with a cool production of weird effects.


        • #6
          Thanks for the info on the blood n fire version Bill.
          will look out for it.