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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

THE MAYTONES

By JUDSON KILPATRICK
Published April 19, 2006

Their Greatest Hits
Heartbeat

For any fan of ’70s reggae, the smooth, sweet two-part harmonies of Vern Buckley and Gladstone Grant are a treasure. Childhood neighbors from May Pen, the clean-cut duo benefited from top-notch arrangements and solid production by Alvin Ranking, as well as the backing of many of reggae’s finest sessions musicians (Sly, Robbie, etc.). The collection may contain only 16 tracks, but it clocks in at over 70 minutes, thanks in large part to previously unreleased nine-minute bonus mixes of the conscious classic “Come Along” and “Africa We Want To Go”  (featuring vocals by U Brown and Trinity, respectively). In fact, eight tracks here appear for the first time on CD, including the Maytones’ uptempo “Rivers Of Babylon,” an extended mix of “Money Worries” featuring I-Roy, and a “disco” arrangement of the ’60s love song “Sha La La.” Those cuts alone make this CD worthwhile, along with the Maytones’ haunting “Madness,” written by Buckley after three of his May Pen friends lost their minds.