The Heptones and Friends - Volumes 1&2 (Trojan Records)

To start things off, in their peak, Leroy Sibbles, Earl Morgan and Barry Llewellyn could out sing any contenders. And this album, collecting pretty much all of their tracks recorded for producer Joe Gibbs is in my opinion their peak. Not to say the stuff they did for Coxsone before this was bad or the stuff they recorded for Lee Perry and other producers after this was bad, because I love that stuff too, but this album is my favorite. Tight rhythms by Joe Gibb's band and even tighter harmonies by the Heptones.

The album starts with "Hypocrites" which has a haunting sort of vibe to it. This track is a great starting point and from there we move to the Heptones cover of "Save the Last Dance For Me" and also their cover of "Our Day Will Come" which is easily one of my favorite songs on the album. Leroy Sibbles just sounds so much better that Ruby and the Romantics. Another favorite of mine is the sweet love song "Every Day and Every Night" which has really nice soulful harmonizing as well as a nice organ over a soft rhythm. Most of the songs are in this vein and two songs even use the same rhythm track. These two songs being "God Bless the Children" and "Freedom To The People". According to the liner notes, the latter song was even used by the PNP during their succsessful 1971 election.

The only thing thats I'm not really a fan of on this album is the two medleys, the first by Ken Parker and the second by the Heptones. Thats not to say these are bad, I'm just not a fan of medleys and would prefer the seperate full song.

Some of the "friends" in question on this album are Judy Mowatt (recording under the name "Julie Anne") who performs one of the strongest songs on the record, "The Gardener". Also this album feautures early solo Peter Tosh with 2 classic songs, the first being a re-recording of one of his hits during the ska years, "Maga Dog" and the second being the classic "Them A Fe Get A Beatin'". Dennis Brown is on here with "Money In My Pocket", and great song which also provides the rhythm for Big Youth's track at the end of the album "A So We Say". Dennis is also here with a cover of the Four Tops "Baby I Need Your Loving"

Other highlights would have to be the cover of "Knock On Wood" by Alton Ellis and the Versatiles (featuring a young Junior Byles) "Warrika Hill". Also Nickey Thomas is on here singing better songs than the one he is most known for ("Love of the Common People").

To end this review, I'm going to say that this album is an absoleute classic and any fan of Leroy Sibbles solo, The Heptones, Early reggae, Joe Gibbs...whatever...everyone should own a copy of this album.

  1. The Heptones - Hypocrite
  2. The Heptones - Save the Last Dance For Me
  3. Julie Anne - The Gardener
  4. The Heptones - Our Day Will Come
  5. Nicky Thomas - Have A Little Faith
  6. The Heptones - Freedom To The People
  7. The Heptones - Every Day and Every Night
  8. Peter Tosh - Maga Dog
  9. The Heptones - God Bless The Children
  10. The Heptones - The Heptones - Love Has Many Faces
  11. The Heptones - Be The One
  12. Nicky Thomas - Mama's Song
  13. Ken Parker - Dynamic Ken Parker (Prisoner of Love, True True True, My Whole World is Falling Down, The Chokin' Kind)
  14. Peter Tosh - Them A Fe Get A Beatin'
  15. The Heptones - Magnificent Heptones (Baby, Why Must I?, Why Did You Leave)
  16. Jackie Brown - People Of Today
  17. The Ethiopians - The Ring
  18. Uriel Aldrel - Let True Love Begin
  19. Dennis Brown - Money In My Pocket
  20. Alton Ellis - Knock On Wood
  21. The Heptones - I've Got A Feeling
  22. The Versatiles - Warricka Hill
  23. Delroy Wilson - Baby I Need Your Loving
  24. Big Youth - A So We Say

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