Maytones Greatest Hits

This is the kind of reissue you’ll never see on Soul Jazz or Blood and Fire. The Maytones were a top-selling harmony duo of the mid- and late ’70s in Jamaica and Europe, but looked like Sam & Dave’s bumpkin cousins. This era represented the full flowering of Rasta influence on reggae and virtually every Jamaican recording for an international label (with the notable exception of Toots & the Maytals) had a rebel/roots posture. Vern Buckley and Gladstone Grant may not have looked the part, but they wrote fine, cultural songs for Alvin Ranglin’s GG label, and happened to record at Channel One just as Sly and Robbie were hitting their stride. Thus Greatest Hits is chock full of disco-mix roots rockers with heavenly harmonies. A good comparison would be the work of Culture of the same period. Unlike some vocal trios whose sonorities betrayed a lack of technique (not that true fans love them any less), these guys always hit the right notes and wrote memorable melodies such as "Africa” and "Money Worries.” Certainly these guys were overlooked by labels at the time, and it’s up to the anthologists at Heartbeat not to follow fashion and give this extremely talented duo proper respect. (Heartbeat)