In the reggae scene of the 1960s and 1970s, the Heptones were the Jamaican equivalent of great northern soul groups like the Delfonics, the Chi-Lites and the Impressions. Leroy Sibbles' lead vocals could be stunning, and the trio's sublime harmonies made it clear that the Kingston natives were well aware of the R&B harmony groups of Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit. Released by the French Culture Press label in 1999, this collection looks back on the Heptones' generally excellent 1970s work with producer Niney The Observer. Though Observer's Style is far from the last word on the Heptones, it does boast some of their first-class work from that period. Under Niney's direction, the group soars on politically charged offerings like "Jah Bless the Children," "Everyday Life" and "Love in the Land" as well as inspired remakes of Tommy James and the Shondells' "Crystal Blue Persuasion" and "Suspicious Minds," a song that has been recorded by everyone from B.J. Thomas and Elvis Presley to Waylon Jennings, Dwight Yoakam and the Fine Young Cannibals. DJs, rappers and toasters will be pleased to know that Culture Press includes the instrumental dub tracks for all of the songs, thus allowing toasters to program their CD players to play only the instrumentals and toast over those tracks at reggae functions.
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AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson