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The Low Culture Podcast: John & Luke On Heart Of The Congos

This month the Quietus Editors talk about the 1977 vocal reggae album by The Congos, widely held to be one of the greatest Jamaican LPs and an example of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry’s Black Ark Studio at the height of its power

In this month’s Quietus subscriber-only podcast, John Doran and Luke Turner bring their favourite new culture of the past month to the table with a quick discussion of Lee Sung Jin’s existentially punishing, jet black comedy drama BEEF starring Steven Yeun and Ali Wong; and the heart-warming return of tQ-favourite Patrick Wolf to physical and creative vivacity.

After the meat heavy entrée however, it’s a rewarding main course of fresh fish and steamed vegetables followed by plenty of collie weed for dessert. The co-pilots agree that if they were ever to vote on a joint Baker’s Dozen of their favourite albums, probably somewhere near the top – if not even the actual number one choice – would be the slow burn 1977 classic reggae album Heart Of The Congos.

The pair discuss the record’s long and tortuous history; how the desire to purchase a breadfruit tree created the chance encounter from which the entire existence of The Congos, not to mention this album, stems from. The pair discuss Heart Of The Congos in terms of its heavy, Old Testament spirituality and how its positive, uplifting vibes co-exist with a shiver of apocalyptic dread, in the same way its timeless melodies sit in perfect harmony with its psychedelic dub shimmer.

There is time to wonder at the reason why Chris Blackwell of Island records passed on the chance to release it, the great work done by Blood & Fire in finally getting a gloriously restored version out to the record buying public in the mid-90s and a short but eventful tour through the dynamic history and processes of Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry and the Black Ark Studio.

To listen to The Quietus’ new Low Culture podcast, you’ll need to become a subscriber and sign up to the Low Culture or Sound & Vision tiers. There’s currently a very special offer where you can get the top tier for nearly 40% off and the mid tier for over 10% off, both of which give you access to the podcast – you can find out everything you get for your coin by clicking here.

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