One of the definitive rocksteady vocal groups, the Heptones were also one of the few to successfully make the transition to the reggae era.
The group was fronted by Leroy Sibbles, who was not only an exquisite singer but also a talented songwriter, arranger, and session bassist at the legendary Studio One. Penning much of its own material, the group boasted one of the deepest catalogs of its time, full of high-quality numbers that were widely imitated for their close-harmony vocals, and widely recycled for their loose, liquid, melodic instrumental grooves.
The Heptones were formed in Kingston in 1965, with a lineup of Sibbles, Barry Llewellyn, and Earl Morgan. At first they called themselves the Hep Ones, but a one-word name seemed to make more sense to fans, and the change was made accordingly. They made their first recording for Ken Lack's Caltone label that year, a strange ska adaptation of "The William Tell Overture" titled "Gun Men Coming to Town."
The Heptones had their first hit later that year with "Fattie Fattie," a ribald paean to large women that was banned from Jamaican radio but sold briskly nonetheless. They went on to record vast amounts of material for Dodd over the next five years. As the hits piled up, Sibbles became a staff songwriter and arranger, played bass with the Studio One house band on a multitude of recordings, and worked as an assistant producer and talent scout as well. However, by 1971, a Rastafarian social consciousness was emerging in his writing, and he had grown tired of the boundaries of working in Dodd's studio system; that sense of confinement led to an acrimonious split with Dodd.
This is an album with sweet slow rocksteady from 1967, lead by Leroy Sibbles with backing vocals by Barry Llewellyn and Earl Morgan. “Fattie Fatti” was The Heptones first single and first hit even though it was banned from Jamaican radio due to inappropriate lyrics. They also cover Sam Cooke’s “Only Sixteen” on this their debut LP and the R&B influence is apparent throughout (even in the album’s cover photos) albeit driven by a rocksteady, and what will soon become reggae beat.
01 - Fattie Fattie
02 - Why Must I
03 - Only Sixteen
04 - Mama
05 - The Best Things In Life
06 - Gee Wee
07 - I've Got A Feeling
08 - Tripe Girl
09 - Baby
10 - Let's Fall In Love
11 - Take A Tip From Me
12 - Cry Baby Cry
13 - Why Did You Leave
14 - Get In The Groove
The Heptones - Same (aka Fattie Fattie, 1967)
(192 kbps, front cover included)