The Congos’ debut album Heart of the Congos is by many regarded as the greatest reggae album ever to be released. And this album is certainly something very special with its swirling soundscape and haunting vocals courtesy of Cedric Myton’s falsetto and Watty Burnett’s deep baritone.
The set was originally released 40 years ago, but was soon withdrawn by producer and engineer extraordinaire Lee Perry. A year later – in 1978 – it surfaced again, but this time with new and different mixes. That release also formed the blueprint for all subsequent reissues.
But now – for the first time ever – the original album from 1977 has been reissued by reggae powerhouse VP Records. The set was put out on LP on Record Store Day in April and in early June on digital and a deluxe 3CD edition. The 3LP version put out in June does not include the original mixes. The only way to get your hands on those are via digital, CD, the Record Store Day edition or the incredibly rare original from the 70s.
Some might argue that this release is for reggae aficionados only. But think again. The digital and the 3CD set is the most definitive edition of this iconic album. It comes with the album mixes from 1978, discomixes, versions, the previously unreleased Don’t Blame it on I and, of course, the original album mixes, which are quite different from the others. These originals are more stripped-down, cleaner and lacks the mooing cow on Children Crying and Ark of the Covenant.
Get it and compare and judge for yourself.