The Congos in London

July 1, 2013

More sound problems at the start, but a very special tribute at the end.

Sonic tribulations seem to be a given when reggae legends come to London town. One month after the Abyssinians soldiered through initial feedback and low mic levels at Clapham Grand the Congos were required to do the same at Camden’s Jazz Cafe. Unlike the stoical, close harmony trio, Cedric Myton, Watty Burnett, Roydel Johnson and Kenroy Ffyffe were more vocal about their vocals getting lost.

The Congos

At first the visibly flustered group’s harmonies felt disunited. Cedric’s highs and Burnett’s lows seemed to fight for attention. Watty’s solo rendition of Tony Joe White’s Rainy Night in Georgia, meant as light relief from the heavy roots staples, was rewound twice, its jauntiness outstaying its welcome. Watty even told the engineer “This is embarrassing brethren. You got to get it right.”

Fortunately, as with Abyssinians, talent, professionalism and a strong catalogue won the day. Crowd pleasers from their 1977 Lee Perry produced debut ‘Heart Of The Congos’ were sure to connect. But since their 2006 reformation the quartet have remained admirably proud of their latterday more traditional roots material, giving it equal weight in their sets.

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