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Artist Profile
1965 ~
Anyone with more than just a passing interest in rock steady and reggae knows and loves the music of The Heptones. Their near faultless body of work gives no indication as to why crossover success managed to elude one of the greatest ever Jamaican harmony trios
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Leroy Sibbles
Earl Morgan
Barry Llewelyn
Place of establishment:
One of the most popular and influential Jamaican vocal trios ever began their working lives with Leroy Sibbles welding, Barry Llewellyn as a mechanic and Earl Morgan selling newspapers. The Heptones were originally formed in Kingston's Trench Town ghetto in the late fifties by Earl and Barry. In the early sixties they met Leroy Sibbles, then lead singer of another street corner group, when the two groups clashed in a street corner singing contest. Leroy was so impressed with Earl and Barry that he immediately asked them to join with him and Leroy became the group's lead singer but both Barry and Earl could also sing lead. This varied versatility was vital to their overall sound.

Sydney 'Luddy' Crooks of The Pioneers brought the group to the attention of Ken Lack, road manager for The Skatalites, who ran the Caltone label. They recorded four songs for Caltone at Duke Reid's Treasure Isle studio in 1966 and their first release, a version of Rossini's 'William Tell Overture' entitled 'Gunmen Coming To Town', was a very early indication that this particular trio were not going to be following anyone. Their next record for Caltone, 'I Am Lonely', was not a particularly big seller on its original release but thirty years later would go on to become one of the most prized (and most expensive) records on the UK revival circuit.

Top vocalists Bob Andy, Ken Boothe and Horace 'B.B.' Seaton sat on the panel for The Heptones' audition for Coxsone(CS Dodd) in 1966 and, after being judged favourably by this team of experts they stayed at Brentford Road for the next five years. Their first hit record, the risqué 'Fatty Fatty', was deemed too lewd for radio play:

"They decided to ban it in Jamaica and, when they did that, everybody wanted to hear it so it made the record one of the best sellers in Jamaica." Earl Morgan

The group soon became a vital part of the Studio One set up and The Heptones' contribution to the sound of Studio One can never be overstated. Leroy was employed as both talent scout and session bass player, Barry as a session musician and Earl sang harmonies and worked in the pressing plant. Leroy Sibbles also wrote countless songs, many tinged with a hint of misogyny, yet delivered with a genuine underlying sensitivity. And as rock steady turned into reggae his superb love songs were matched by songs of truth and rights and many of his thoughtful lyrics became preoccupied with black self determination.

Leroy was also an extremely talented musician whose bass lines were sufficiently melodic to work with any amount of different arrangements. Many of these have subsequently become ubiquitous and the rhythms for songs such as 'Give Me The Right', 'Party Time', 'Sweet Talking', and 'Why Did You Leave' are returned to time after time after time. Prolific but always professional much of their output can be found on four faultless albums for Studio One 'The Heptones', 'On Top', 'Freedom Line' and 'Black Is Black' also known as 'Ting A Ling'. These contain much of their best work but many classic tracks also appeared only on seven inch singles or featured on one of Coxsone(CS Dodd)'s many long playing various artist compilations.

"After Coxsone we said anybody want us they can take us so we went from one producer to the next. We worked for so many producers..." Earl Morgan

The Heptones left Studio One in 1971 and were free to record for any of Kingston's many record producers passing on the lessons they had learnt at Coxsone's musical college to a new generation of producers and artists. Their first move was to Joe Gibbs(Joel Gibson) where they hit with 'Be The One' and 'Hypocrite' and over the next two years, they recorded for most producers of note often updating their Studio One hits in the current style. In a frenetic burst of creativity they worked for Clive Chin At Randy's(Randys) with 'My Guiding Star', Geoffery Chung with 'I Miss You', Rupie Edwards with 'Give Me The Right' over the 'My Conversation' rhythm, for Augustus Pablo with 'Love Won't Come Easy' and for Phil Pratt with 'Party Time' & 'Swept For You Baby'. The Heptones' cover versions and do-overs were all inevitably invested with all the feeling and subtlety of their own originals.

In 1973 Leroy emigrated to Canada but returned to Jamaica three years later and the group began to work with Lee 'Scratch' Perry(Lee Perry) and Harry 'Harry J' Johnson(Harry Johnson). Records such as 'Sufferers Time' echoed the dread mood of the times and their work for The Upsetter showcased their soaring harmonies against his dense, churning rhythms. In 1976 the Lee Perry produced 'Party Time' album was released worldwide by Island Records and followed by Harry J's long player 'Night Food' which trod a more traditional route despite the inclusion of the vitriolic 'Country Boy'. Both albums belatedly helped to introduce the music of The Heptones to a wider audience but, later that year during a tour with Bob Marley & The Wailers and The Maytals organised by Island Records, Leroy left the group and returned to live in Canada and pursue a solo career.

"If Leroy had never left The Heptones we would have been even bigger worldwide... "
Earl Morgan

After Leroy's departure Dolphin 'Naggo' Morris took over as lead singer but, with a few notable exceptions, their records did not scale the same exalted heights as the group's previous work. Barry and Earl reunited with Leroy in the early nineties and The Heptones "keep playing and recording and spreading the message".

"The Heptones is not a one man thing. The Heptones is a three man thing." Earl Morgan

Barry and Earl always did far more than filling in the gaps behind Leroy's lead and both have made notable contributions to The Heptones' canon. Earl's 'Pretty Looks Isn't All' is one of a handful of classic songs that will last for as long as reggae music is listened to.

The Heptones unfailingly set standards for everyone else to aspire to and to measure their own work by. There is no need for any retrospective revisionism to belatedly bestow credibility on The Heptones for they notched up rock steady hit after hit and reggae hit after hit after hit throughout the sixties and the seventies. At one time it looked inevitable that they would surely follow Bob Marley & The Wailers and Burning Spear into the realms of international stardom but it was not to be. Amongst Jamaican music lovers their popularity is unmatched yet they remain relatively unappreciated by wider audiences. Probably the most accomplished Jamaican vocal harmony trio ever... there will never be anyone quite like The Heptones again.
Related artist(s):
Lee Perry
Mar 28, 1936 ~
Currently, rightly, seen as a key figure in the development of the form & structure of music, yet alone reggae. In a glorious decade from 1969 to 1979 he produced hundred’s of singles, ten’s of albums and was right there at the genesis of Dub, Sampling and Remixing. He stands with a alongside the likes of Phil Spector or Atlantic & Stax.
>>Featured Page
Real name:
Rainford Hugh Perry
Place of birth:
Like Bob Marley, Perry was born in the rural majority of Jamaica and moved to Kingston to create a career for himself. He started in the music business with Coxsone Dodd(CS Dodd)'s Studio One set up, for whom he cut over thirty sides in the mid 1960's of Ska and cuts of US R'n'B. He collected his first nick name – 'Scratch' – at Studio One after he had a dub plate hit with 'Chicken Scratch' (a dance record).

Leaving Dodd saw Perry launch the first of many musical missiles – this one to Dodd himself proclaimed 'I Am The Upsetter': Perry had a hit and acquired a lasting epithet. This marked the beginning of a career in which he created many news sounds and styles for reggae as he recorded many artists and then honed his creative process by building his own studio and employing new developments in technology in the recording process.

In his golden decade, from 1969 to 1978, Perry released almost 400 singles, in Jamaica, plus some 50 albums in the UK & JA, whilst over 200 further singles were recorded, at least in part, at his Black Ark studio.

What set Perry apart many Reggae producers was that from the mid 1960's he was an experimenter: he issued his first remixed single in 1968, used sampled sounds in U Roy's first recording 'OK Corral'(from a similar time), used samples of his own recordings to build new tracks and used skat and other noises made by the mouth as an instrument. He was always looking at technology and pushing boundaries could develop his music.

Initially his organ driven instrumentals sold to London's Skinheads but he actually achieved a UK Top 5 with 'Return of Django' in 1969; a tune which reflected his passion for Spaghetti Westerns. UK based Trojan records had given Perry his own 'Upsetters' imprint which saw some one hundred releases over a four year period.

By the early 1970's Perry was an upcoming 'rebel' producer who embraced the growing Rastafarian cult and produced Bob Marley, Wailers, with great JA success as well as artist like Dave Barker & Junior Byles. By late 1973 Perry had built his own 'Black Ark' studio in the garden of his Washington Gardens home, that he shared with Trenchtown born Pauline Morrisson and their family. It was, as he said, 'somewhere the sufferer's' could make their music. It would become the birth place of myth & fable as Perry worked ceaselessly over the next five years. The Black Ark was to become the centre of Rasta musical culture in Kingston with the flow of ghetto artists recording at the Ark – either financed by Perry or paying to use the Studio themselves, usually with Perry as engineer.

It was his early partnership with a Sound System operator and erstwhile mixing Studio owner, Osbourne Rudduck aka King Tubby, that would again find Perry pushing back musical barriers. His '14 Upsetters 14 Dub Black Board Jungle' was one of the first ever 'dub' albums. For the rest of the decade he pushed back the barriers of Dub music.

Perry was also working with such producers as Yabby You, Augustus Pablo, Phil Pratt, Clive Hunt and the Tafari set up –as well as a host of lesser known producers. By 1975 Perry stood squarely at the heart of the Kingston reggae music scene that embraced Rebel ideologies, The Rastafarian faith, Black Power and fashion. His music was a hit on the Sound System scene and he was once again attracting interest from abroad and indeed had a UK chart hit with Susan Cadogan's 'Hurt So Good'

1976 saw the start of a deal with Island in the UK that enabled his music to be fully marketed to students and Punks in London that were sensing change in the direction that music would take. His 'Super Ape' album filled the hash filled rooms to students to the world of swirling dub and his ethereal soundscapes, whilst on the Streets of London Junior Murvin's 'Police & Thieves' became the sound track to the Riot hit Notting Hill Carnival. Likewise Perry's production of Max Romeo's 'War in a Babylon' picked up on the major fault lines developing across London's immigrant communities. Once again Perry found himself at the centre of powerful social forces. Perry had developed a highly recognizable sound with a bouncing Bass, lots of reverb and often quite sharp mixing. Like Phil Spector he was creating a trademark sound on which he could place many different artists.

The agreement with Island faltered after George Faith's album failed to sell and also as the quality and content of Perry's new work was variable or going off in its own direction. After albums from The Congos, Candy McKenzie and Perry's blend of African & Reggae music were all rejected, Perry was once again an independent.

Truth was Perry's music was developing in a very particular direction and that was away from what many understood by Reggae. His 'Return of the Super Ape' album largely baffled people, with its Jazz references.
In truth the pressure of endless sessions driven by Rum & Weed, coupled with dealing with the huge numbers of hangers on at his Studio was driving Perry to a place where he found that if he acted mad or strange he could drive people away. He drove Pauline away and then all of the musicians and then continued to act bizarrely: eventually the Black Ark studio was burned out. Later Perry spoke of the power of Fire to cleanse.

Since the demise of the Black Ark Lee Perry has found a new musical vibe through his work with UK producers Adrian Sherwood and The Mad Professor, after a spell of dealing with his personal demons.
In the over 30 years since the demise of the Black Ark the complete story of his music has been slowly revealed through countless compilations. He has inspired the Bessie Boys, been sampled by The Prodigy and has rightly become part of Rocks, not just Reggaes, history.
Related artist(s):
King Tubby
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Description of item
[All Items] → [7"] → [Roots Reggae] → [Lee Perry & The Upsetters] → [Heptones, Lee Perry]
Heptones, Lee Perry - Party Time
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vinyl 7" 7"
Heptones, Lee Perry
Party Time
Hep Hep/Lee Perry
Party Time
¥600 ¥499 (US$4.15)
Rating: 1234
Genre: Roots Reggae
Sub Genre: Lee Perry & The Upsetters
Produced by: Lee Perry
Approx. year: 1977
Date added: Sep 25, 2006
Date re-stocked: Feb 15, 2010
Country: Jamaica
Music type: Vocal B: Version
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Customer review
Rating: 12345
以前12"でも買ったのですが曲が良すぎてこれも買っちゃいました。 ヘプトーンズのコーラスのよさが存分に出ていて、明るいステッパーな感じのところがたまりません!
Reviewer: jamaica shrine from 千葉県
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