The Heptones

Heptones & Friends

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Although Studio One had raised them to stardom, by 1971 the Heptones, like so many Jamaican artists before them, left the foundation label and struck out for greener pastures. Joe Gibbs, one of the newer and hotter kids on the production block, was to be the trio's first port of call. They moved on the following year, but in between times, the group recorded an album's worth of excellent material. Making the most of what he had, Gibbs released these numbers across two sets, The Heptones & Friends Meet the Now Generation, Vol. 1 and The Heptones & Friends Meet the Now Generation, Vol. 2, filling in the rather sizeable gaps with his other artists. Trojan, who released both sets in the U.K., truncated the title with the omission of the "Meets the Now Generation". For Heptones' fans, the first volume was the crucial one to be had, as three-quarters of the set was dedicated to the trio, the second volume would include only two of their numbers. Of their offerings "Hypocrites" is the stand-out, one of their own compositions, and yet another one of their oh-so-sweet smack-downs. The rest of their tracks consist of astutely chosen covers, all showcasing the trio's soulful deliveries and exquisite harmonies. The rest of the set comprises a pair of equally well picked Nicky Thomas cover songs, Peter Tosh's scathing "Maga Dog," one of his best cuts for Gibbs, and Judy Mowatt parading under the pseudonym Julie Ann with a fabulous cover of "The Gardener," one of the highlights of the set. The Now Generation were well deserving of credit on the cover, their work is superb throughout, creating delectable backings for all these magnificent songs. An excellent compilation.

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