Congos and Friends Fisherman Style

Blood and Fire’s new one riddim experiment is a double-disc set of 22 new versions of the "Fisherman” rhythm, originally recorded by the Congos on their definitive Heart of the Congos disc of 1978. This disc is often cited as Lee "Scratch” Perry’s best work, and "Row Fisherman Row” was the album’s opener. Although Jamaican rhythms are malleable by definition, Heart of the Congos always seemed unique and kind of untouchable. Until this collection, only Perry’s dub (included on Heart of the Congos) took another pass at the original. This set is divided between veterans and newer talent. Disc one is mostly old school, from U Roy, Max Romeo and Big Youth to a surprisingly spry Prince Jazzbo. Some of the legends simply sound old, but Freddie McGregor and Sugar Minott always have lots to give. Disc two is more interesting with Luciano and Lutan Fyah leading fresher and more nimble variations on the original. One of the best overall cuts is "Jig Jig Jig” by Early One, who is actually a fisherman by trade, and brings real gravity to his words. German dub masters Rhythm and Sound edit it down to a fluid mix, with a few subtle dub twists of their own. (Blood and Fire)