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The Melodians

Vocal trio the Melodians were one of Jamaica's greatest rocksteady groups, cutting a series of classic singles during the late '60s and early '70s that included the internationally famed "Rivers of Babylon" and "Sweet Sensation." The group was formed in the Greenwich Town area of Kingston in 1963 and included Tony Brevett (brother of Skatalites bassist Lloyd Brevett) and Brent Dowe, who split lead vocal duties, plus full-time harmony singer Trevor McNaughton. Additional member Rennie Cogle wrote or co-wrote much of their material, and also served as an arranger. In their early days, the Melodians performed quite successfully in talent shows around Kingston, which eventually led to their first recording session -- for Clement "Coxsone" Dodd's Studio One label -- in 1966. Only two of the four tracks were released, and drew little attention.

The Melodians moved over to Duke Reid's Treasure Isle imprint from 1967-1968, and it was there that they had their first taste of success. Singles like "You Have Caught Me," "Expo 67," "I'll Get Along Without You," "You Don't Need Me" (which featured groundbreaking chatter U-Roy), and "Come On Little Girl" established them as one of the sweetest-sounding vocal ensembles on the rocksteady scene. After "Come On Little Girl" became a hit in 1968, the group joined up with producer Sonia Pottinger and scored two more successes that year, "Little Nut Tree" and "Swing and Dine."

The Melodians broke through to a wider international audience when they began recording for producer Leslie Kong in 1969, an association that resulted in many of their most celebrated songs. "Sweet Sensation" sold quite well in the U.K. as well as Jamaica, and it was eclipsed in both places later that year by the smash "Rivers of Babylon," which became the group's signature tune. "Rivers of Babylon" also marked the emergence of a Rastafarian spiritual consciousness in the group's songwriting, which had heretofore tackled mostly romantic concerns; they would occasionally return to Rasta themes on songs like "Black Man Kingdom Come." Continuing to enjoy significant success with Kong, they stuck with him until the producer's untimely death in 1971.

The tragedy effectively marked the end of the Melodians' heyday. They cut a few more records for producers like Lee "Scratch" Perry, Harry J, and Byron Lee's Dynamic Sounds studio and made second go-rounds with both Pottinger and Reid. Nothing quite recaptured their success with Kong, however, and Dowe left the group in 1973; they disbanded not long after, despite "Rivers of Babylon" finding a whole new audience via its inclusion on Jimmy Cliff's soundtrack for The Harder They Come. Dowe and Brevett both recorded solo singles during the mid-'70s, the former with Lee Perry. They re-formed the Melodians in 1976 and re-recorded many of their old hits for Harry J, but the venture didn't get much further. The trio reconvened once again in the early '80s and cut a reunion album of new material, Irie Feeling, in 1983 (the same year UB40 covered "Sweet Sensation" on their hit Labour of Love album). Irie Feeling failed to re-establish them, but they later found work on the revival circuit and made a living by touring internationally and performing their classics of old. ~ Steve Huey, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Rivers of Babylon is magnificent. Hope
Pride
Struggle
Strength
Beauty
And promise
I always sing along a bit too loudly and feel better after doing so :-)
newday983
Trancendant
miekekimpe
idiot
plwells22
Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of you life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However if you don't post this you will die in 2 days. Now you've started reading so don't stop. This is so scary put this on at least 5 songs in 143 minutes. When done press f6 and your lover's name will come on the screen in big letters. This is so scary because it actually works
What would the 1960 music scene be without this group.
Harmonies, instrumental s , vocals- nothing wasted.
...to take you to the other siiiiide!
their harmonies are PERFECT. these tunes transcend time and space...
jjohnson3343 7
love the sensation
I grew up listening to these guys and for 20 years I tried to find their muaic. This song is so inspirationa l I trust the legend will live on and folks will remember to reminisce and cherish the blessings this song emit. Sensational.
sweet sensation
Actually a psalm
i really dig the cover sublime did of this. very smooth
bryanabbott
I can't sum it up any better than Maruska ... Listen to these guys if you like the Jamaica sound, or warm honey.
icpaxibe
This is good takes me back in time.Great group
maruska9
like warm honey poured over two bodies

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