Deep In The Roots
The Heptones
July 3, 2004

Track list
  1. African Child
  2. Temptation, Tribulation & Botheration
  3. Jah Guide (Previously Unreleased Extended Version)
  4. Crystal Blue Persuasion
  5. Jah Bless The Children (Previously Unreleased Alternate Mix)
  6. Children Dub
  7. Land Of Love
  8. Move On (Previously Unreleased Alternate Extended Mix)
  9. Everyday Life (Previously Unreleased Extended Mix)
  10. Oh Jah
  11. Oh Jah Dub
  12. Through The Fire I Come (Previously Unreleased Alternate Extended Mix)
  13. Suspicious Minds (Previously Unreleased Alternate Mix)
  14. Book Of Rules (Single Mix Version)
  15. Ready Baby
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4/5 Production : 4 Sound quality : 4/5 Sleeve : 4
The original Heptones, consisting of Leroy Sibbles, Earl Morgan and Barrington Llewellyn, were one of reggae's legendary groups. They became huge hitmakers while recording for Coxsone Dodd's "Studio One" imprint. As the hits piled up, Leroy Sibbles became Studio One's staff songwriter and arranger, played bass with the Studio One house band on a multitude of recordings, and worked as an assistant producer and talent scout as well. However, by 1971, a Rastafarian social consciousness was emerging in his writing, and he had grown tired of the boundaries of working in Dodd's studio system. That sense of confinement led to an acrimonious split with Dodd. The Group started cutting material for Joe Gibbs, Harry J, Augustus Pablo, Rupie Edwards, and many others. However, it was the legendary producer Lee "Scratch" Perry, who managed to combine the Heptones' classic harmonic interplays with his extravagant studio wizardry to full effect. The Perry produced album "Party Time" - released in 1977 by Island Records - brought the Heptones their international breakthrough. Not long after Sibbles moved to Canada and embarked on a solo career. The remaining Heptones replaced him with Dolphin "Naggo" Morris and released the "Better days" album in 1978, which sold disappointingly compared to "Party Time", the group's biggest-selling album in the international market.
The Heartbeat cd "Deep in the Roots" compiles tracks from the "Better Days" vocal and dub album plus some tunes from "King Of My Town". Furthermore it includes the extended versions of several hits, offering listeners both the original vocals and the bonus instrumental mixes that were tacked onto the 12" singles. All tracks were recorded at Kingston's famed Channel One Studio and Harry J's by top roots producer Niney the Observer, with backing by the Soul Syndicate band. With "Deep In The Roots" you're treated to classic cultural roots reggae with tight backing, sometimes using mournful horns. Of course, Naggo Morris lacks Sibbles' vocal range and dramatic presence, but on the other hand one has to admit that his strong, engaging voice fits their roots reggae material very well. Vocally and lyrically The Heptones shine on tracks such as "African Child", "Temptation, Tribulation & Botheration", "Oh Jah", "Book Of Rules" and also on their previously unreleased versions of "Jah Bless the Children", Through The Fire I Come" and "Everyday Life".
All in all a solid collection of tunes from the second edition of The Heptones.