20 Golden Hits

The Heptones

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20 Golden Hits Review

by Steve Leggett

Although 20 Golden Hits has a lame title, no liner notes, and the look of a hastily thrown together package, it is actually one of the best Heptones compilations available, containing most of the tracks from their two Island Records releases, 1976's Night Food (all but three of the tracks are here) and 1977's Party Time (only one track is omitted), while adding two tunes from 1970's On Top and a single track from 1972's Heptones & Friends. While the sequencing might be a little unnerving for hardcore Heptones fans, the fact remains that the group's two most consistent albums are essentially grafted together here, including essentially all of their Black Ark studio work with producer Lee "Scratch" Perry (only "Crying Over You" and a handful of dub remixes are missing), and a sample of their earlier classic Studio One sound is represented, as well. It isn't a fancy or pretty package, and there is exactly zero annotation, but 20 Golden Hits is the best single-disc anthology of the classic Heptones lineup (Leroy Sibbles, Barry Llewellyn, Earl Morgan) currently available.

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