The Congos  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

The Congos were the reggae duo "Ashanti" Roy Johnson tenor, and Cedric Myton falsetto, both born in 1947. Specialising in roots reggae, with Rastafari/spiritual lyrics, they recorded the classic Heart of the Congos in 1977, produced by Lee Perry at The Black Ark Studio, with the Congos augmented by illustrious backing singers such as Gregory Isaacs, The Meditations and The Heptones. Leaving Black Ark, after predictably arguing with Perry over sales, royalties and payments, their career lost momentum. Later recordings such as Congos Ashanti being sparser and sounding ordinary compared to Perry's kitchen-sink-and-all massive productions. Cedric Myton had previously worked with Prince Lincoln Thompson.

In 2005 Myton recorded Give Them the Rights with a host of backup singers and star session players such as Sly and Robbie and Chinna Smith, very much in the spiritual 70s roots vein. In 2006, the UK reggae revival label Blood and Fire released the records "Fisherman Style" featuring a remixed version of the classic cut "Fisherman" plus such legends as Horace Andy, Big Youth, Dillinger, Prince Jazzbo, Luciano, Freddie McGregor, Gregory Isaacs, Max Romeo, Mykal Rose and U-Roy doing their own new versions.

The original Congos have reunited and released several new albums, and toured extensively. Both the albums and concerts have received massive critical acclaim, and the Congos is probably the most respected traditional roots reggae band still in operation today.

Album discography

  • Heart of the Congos (1977) Black Ark
  • Congo Ashanti (1979) Congo Ashanty/CBS
  • Image of Africa (1979) Congo Ashanty/Epic/CBS
  • Face The Music (1981) Go Feet
  • Best Of Congos vol. 1 (1983) Tafari
  • Natty Dread Rise Again (1997) RAS
  • Revival (1998) VP
  • Live at Maritime Hall: San Francisco (2000) 2B1
  • Lion Treasure (2001) JDC/M10
  • Give Them the Rights (2005) Young Tree
  • Fisherman Style (2006) Blood and Fire
  • Cock Mouth Kill Cock (2006) Explorer Music also issued as Feast (2006) Kingston Sounds
  • Swinging Bridge (2006) Mediacom/Nocturne




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "The Congos" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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