The Heptones are one of the most influential reggae groups, being one of the main bands responsible for the shift in Jamaican music from Rocksteady and 1st wave Ska into reggae.
“Mistry (Mystery) Babylon came a good deal after that, in the late 70s. It came about as a result of the groups successful collaborations with Lee “Scratch” Perry, who produced the groups ’77 album Party Time, the same year as this song was released as a single.
The bass is soft but insistent, with a more than a small note of melancholy. The main riff is a splashy, underwater guitar skank, which is just classic Lee “Scratch” Perry. It lends the song a rather strange vibe, but it absolutely works. It could easily be up their as one of Perry’s all time greatest productions.
When the bassline is isolated, it becomes clear just how much of golden melody it has. The wistful feeling of the song is clear and powerful, and the layered guitar licks and general foggy atmospherics make this something of a masterpiece.
The song was released first in a small run, with a handwritten label, in 1974, before a proper release in 1977.
Such a contemplative track.