Back to Florida, and back to reggae. Interestingly enough, today we have the #1 rated album on rateyourmusic.com’s Top 10, “Heart of the Congos”, by another Jamaican act, The Congos. Not Bob Marley, not Peter Tosh, not Toots and the Maytals, it is… The Congos. At their core, The Congos are a two-person vocal act, including Cedric Myton, who sings in falsetto, but the album has a full collection of instrumentalists and backing vocalists as well.
While I certainly would be hard-pressed to rate this as the greatest reggae album ever, it was another positive discovery on my expanding reggae journey. Their sound features most of the melody coming from the vocals and bass line, with less guitar than some of the other acts mentioned above. You get a fairly good idea of where this album is going with the first song, “Fisherman”, and the album has many of the same themes of Jah and repatriation back to Africa. While it was a pleasant listen, there wasn’t too much that was particularly noteworthy, and the production came across as a bit more dated than some of the other music of its time and genre. The two most catchy and infectious songs are back-to-back, with “Children Crying” and my #1 favorite, “La La Bam-Bam”.
I don’t know how many more reggae acts remain in the Top 10 list which sources my master list, as clearly most, if not all, are vintage from the 1970s. The Congos have continued to perform and stay active to this day, which is fantastic. They added a baritone to their trio, which I can only assume further rounds out their sound.