Vocal harmony trio The Heptones and their front man and lead singer/bass maestro Leroy Sibbles are an integral part of reggae history with countless of immortal songs and albums under their belt. Some of their best known material was recorded for producer Coxsone Dodd in the mid to late 60s and in the mid to late 70s for producer Lee Perry.
In the late 70s Leroy Sibbles quit the band and moved to Canada. He was replaced by Naggo Morris, who sings lead on the recently reissued album Good Life, a set I have always regarded as underrated.
It was produced Joseph Hoo Kim and recorded at Channel One with The Revolutionaries providing the rock-hard riddims. It features several tunes with beautiful vocal harmonizing – Every Day Every Night, Black Man Memory, Can’t Hide From Jah and Repatriation is a Must. The set also features a well-crafted version of Bob Marley’s Natural Mystic.
Good Life was The Heptones’ eleventh album and it definitely stands up to par with classics such as Party Time and Night Food. It’s now available on vinyl, CD and digital download.
When UK reissue label Pressure Sounds announced a new Lee Perry compilation they wrote “we know what you are thinking, another Lee Perry album on Pressure Sounds.” Well, I could not have said it better myself. It was my first thought when I heard about the release.
The majority of the previous seven Lee Perry compilations issued on Pressure Sounds have been very strong, particularly some of the earliest ones. And Roaring Lion – as the latest eight set is titled – is no exception and definately not just another Lee Perry compilation.
The material on the album was mostly recorded or re-mixed in 1976 and it delivers 16 unreleased tracks, of which eleven come from a master tape that has been laying in storage for 30 years. The other five are made up of dub plates and alternate takes of previously released tracks. All in all the set includes no less than five previously unreleased tracks from Jah Lion, Augustus Pablo and The Upsetters.
The audio quality is surprisingly good and you have all of Lee Perry’s trademarks at the Black Ark put on wax – bouncing bass, creative arrangements and a dense and atmospheric soundscape filled with cultural currents and vocal snippets dropping in and out of the swirling mixes.
Fans of Bob Marley will probably be super excited, since the album collects an unreleased dub plate mix of Natural Mystic, one of the man’s most crucial tunes put out on Island Records.
Roaring Lion comes with excellent liner notes from Lee Perry enthusiast Jeremy Collingwood and in tandem with the album release Pressure Sounds has put out three Lee Perry produced 7”, two of which are not on the album.