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This project features a reunion of all the original members of the CONGOS

Posted by LoriI 
LoriI
This project features a reunion of all the original members of the CONGOS
March 16, 2006 11:38PM
Congos Biography

The Congos came together in 1977 to record Heart of the Congos with Lee “Scratch” Perry. The vocalist on this project included Cedric Myton, Roydel “Ashanti” Johnson and Wadi Burnett. They are known as Cedric, Watty and Shanty. The Congos made their name with this one record - Heart of the Congos - which was released in 1977. Reggae historian Steve Barrow, one of the people behind the exquisite reissue of this long-thought-lost record, considers it as good as seminal reggae recordings such as Bob Marley and the Wailers' Natty Dread, Burning Spear's Marcus Garvey, and the Mighty Diamonds' Right Time. This is not an exaggeration. Myton, Burnett and Johnson, working with Lee Perry at his Black Ark Studios in Kingston created a masterpiece, one of (if not the) finest production job of Perry's long and prolific career.

The first child of Daisy Watson, and his father Lester Myton, Cedric was born in the Old Harbour bay area St. Catherine, Jamaica, at a time when the island was still under British colonial rule. In St. Catherine Cedric began his singing career as a member of the Tartans in the late '60s. Singing in a tuneful rocksteady style, the Tartans scored hits with songs like "Dancehall Night" and "Far Beyond the Sun". Dancehall Night, in 1965, was Cedric’s first single on the Prince Buster Label. This song remained at #2 on the top ten hit parade for many weeks. Cedric released many singles with such bands as The Bell Star and The Tartans. It was not until 1974 that he released his first album as a member of the Royal Rasses on the Universal Records label. Hits on this album included Humanity and Kingston 11 which are classic reggae hits today.
Roy Johnson, a native of Hanover, Jamaica, grew up singing spirituals at home and cut his teeth as a member of Ras Michael and the Sons of Negus. More importantly, Johnson attended school with Lee Perry, the start of a relationship that would lead to Perry working with him and Myton years later. A chance meeting led to Myton and Johnson working under the name the Congos and hooking up with such major musical talents as Sly Dunbar, Ernest Ranglin, and "Sticky" Thompson. While the music that backed the Congos was undeniably great, their most distinctive feature was their vocals. Johnson's strong, clear tenor and Myton's breathtaking falsetto, which sounded a bit like that of the great Russell Tompkins of the Stylistics. What Lee Perry brought to this mix was his usual anarchic presence, but also his technique of using primitive (even for its time) four-track recording technology that emphasized a cluttered, dense, but hot live sound. With Perry at the controls, the Congos had a man uniquely qualified to capture the roots vibe they wanted to record, perhaps the only producer in Jamaica capable of doing so. The result of this team brought about the birth of the Congo’s.
Great as it was, Heart of the Congos sold only reasonably well in Jamaica, and became a hotly sought-after collectible in America and Britain by a cult of reggae aficionados. The original release dropped out of sight, and crappy reissues were all that was available until very recently. Not long after the record was released, Myton and Johnson went their separate ways, but continued to use the name the Congos or Congo as a means of identification. Myton continued to record with other singers as the Congos. Throughout the 80’s and 90’s Cedric released albums like Image of Africa for CBS France, Face The Music for Arista Records, Natty Dread Rise Again for RAS Records, Revival for VP Records and Congo Ashanti and Give Them The Right for Blood and Fire records U.K. Johnson worked as a solo act and as a member of some of Adrian Sherwood's experimental dub/funk aggregations. As solo artists, they never captured the magic of Heart of the Congos, but the fact they were able to do so once is all that really matters. Heart of the Congos became a classic in Europe, including the mega hit anthem- “Row Fisherman Row”. The Heart of the Congos was re-mastered, re-packaged and re- released in the late nineties by Blood & fire records and sold over 300,000 units in Europe.
Their new CD, “Cock Mouth Kill Cock” releasing worldwide on Explorer Recordings March 2006, brings together the original voices of the Congo’s that blended together to make their masterpiece Heart of the Congos, in 1977. The songs on this new CD use original recording of rhythms of the 60’s and 70’s era, straight from the archives of Hit producer Bunny “striker” Lee. This project features the reunion of all of the original members of The Congos - Cedric, Watty and Shanty. Man proposes and God disposes. In this case, it’s great to see the reunion of the vocal trio that has made history.

@ the Northwest World Reggae Festival
July 21,22,23
Haile I Selassie I's Earthday weekend
Inna Oregon
.....along with
JR.Reid
and ANTHONY B
the line up is filled and trust me,...
the next announcement ya hear... will be just as SWEET!
big things gwann NOW!
Yabby You fan
Re: This project features a reunion of all the original members of the CONGOS
March 17, 2006 04:41AM
Lineup sounds nice! I will be there for sure! The Congos coming back for the first time in a long time is an absolute blessing!

By the way, is the Northwest World Reggae Fest still booking artists? I recently talked to several who are interested.

Yabby You fan
Yabby You fan
Re: This project features a reunion of all the original members of the CONGOS
March 17, 2006 05:07AM
By the way, the Congos' "Give Them the Rights" is an album on Young Tree records, not Blood and Fire. Not a huge deal, but my bredda Harrison (of Groundation/Young Tree) went through A LOT to get that album released, so I wanted to make sure he gets the credit he deserves.

Yabby You fan

Re: This project features a reunion of all the original members of the CONGOS
March 17, 2006 06:24AM
--> the Congos' "Give Them the Rights" is an album on Young Tree records,

and I would add that it is a good one too...



--
blessid love
ras danny
higher reasoning reggae time
KBOO Portland, Full Strength Community Radio
*Love is a net that catches hearts like fish.*
-Muhammad Ali
*I don't like reggae, I love it*
Re: This project features a reunion of all the original members of the CONGOS
March 17, 2006 06:25AM
Lori, can you give me a link for the promoter? I have some photos he/she might use for promotion. I will donate them, of course.



"love shines brighter than the morning sun"
LoriI
Re: This project features a reunion of all the original members of the CONGOS
March 17, 2006 09:11AM
sis you can send the photos to my email.
I will be involved with the promotion.
(I was hopin' you'd say that.)
~photo credit as always
BLESS
the line up is full..real full
It's going to be a great Summer
jb welda
Re: This project features a reunion of all the original members of the CONGOS
March 17, 2006 09:25AM
re: heart of the congos:
>and crappy reissues were all that was available until very recently.

thats not true at all. the (english) beat's go feet label issued the album in the early 80s i think it was and it was in no way a "crappy reissue"...in fact it basically kept this outfit in the public eye when otherwise they would have probably disappeared into the "obscure roots vocal trio" netherland. give respect where its due.

go feet then went on to issue a number of 7" and 12" singles as well as at least one other album by the congos, further keeping them in the public eye. i have no idea how the business end worked out or whether there remained good feelings between the congos and go feet but the work of the beat in sponsoring these releases should be recognized.

in addition a version was released in france (i believe on the jah live label but not sure because ive not been fortunated enough to get a copy over time) and many claim to this day that that is the definitive version of the record.

one love
jah bill
ONE UNIVERSAL MIND,JUST LETTING THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE WHO REMEMBER THE CONGO'S TO KNOW THAT THE ORIGINAL BASSIE, ANTHONY ALLEN ALSO KNOWN AS JAHTEE,WHO WENT ON TOUR WITH THE CONGO'S TO FRANCE FOR THE MIDEM FEST IN THE EARLY EIGHTIES IS ALIVE AND WELL.HE WENT ON WEST COAST TOUR WITH THE CONGO'S ONCE AGAIN 2002. THE GROUP NATTILOVEJOYS BACKED THE CONGO'S AT THAT TIME, FROM THATWEST COAST TOUR AROSE THE NEW LIVE CD SIGNED BY VIRGIN RECORDS.ONE TRACK FROM THE NEW LIVE RECORDING'dont blame it on i'was a music track for jet lee movie 'romeo must die' CHECK HIM OUT CAMPREGGAE.COM THE GROUP HE IS WITH IS NATTILOVEJOYS WHO ARE TAKING AMERICA BY STORM CAMPREGGAE.COM ONE UNIVERSAL MIND..big up to our friends the congo's..who we dearly love.
TR-808
Re: This project features a reunion of all the original members of the CONGOS
March 17, 2006 09:29AM

the album on Young Tree is only part of the studio material that was produced at that time. and the set they got has only one good tune, the "Lion Sleeping" or whatever it's called.. plus the mix was like studio roughs or something, needed more work from my point of view

the Blood and Fire set will feature tunes from that same heap of studio work, but different tunes


and if you want to talk about what people "went through" regarding this so-called great material..

well that conversation shouldn't go in any thread about how great Congo Ashanti Roy is supposed to be.

--
Re: This project features a reunion of all the original members of the CONGOS
March 17, 2006 09:32AM
---> WEST COAST TOUR WITH THE CONGO'S ONCE AGAIN 2002...

yes I, 'membah dem played da Red Sea here in Portland-town, what a nice nite dat was fi'real!



--
blessid love
ras danny
higher reasoning reggae time
KBOO Portland, Full Strength Community Radio
*Love is a net that catches hearts like fish.*
-Muhammad Ali
*I don't like reggae, I love it*
Re: This project features a reunion of all the original members of the CONGOS
March 17, 2006 10:14AM
Hey Nick - Congo Roy is great. Youthman still blows me away, and I think they are much stronger together. The falsetto thing can get old by itself after a while - but throw in Roy to counterpoint (and Watty to fill things out of course) and the sum is truly greater than individual components.

I was under the impression he wasn't even present during those sessions (although I do hear him on that Groundation cut). What did he do/not do? (haha - e-mail me if it shouldn't be here man)

Just got some of his solo works that I plan on digitizing this weekend (preserve my vinyl and so I can listen to it on the road/at work).
Re: This project features a reunion of all the original members of the CONGOS
March 17, 2006 11:15AM
Yabby You Fan that may not be entirely accurate, but not for discussion here. E-mail me at lajoshua@yahoo.com if you like.



fourtwentyplenty
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