The Melodians – Rivers Of Babylon
The Melodians – Rivers Of Babylon
Label: Music On Vinyl | Format: LP Limited Edition | Street date: February 14, 2019 | Website label
- Rivers Of Babylon
- It Took A Miracle
- Sweet Sensation
- It’s My Delight
- A Day Seems So Long
- Lost My Love
- Though I’m Through With You
- I Don’t Care
- Oh Say Darling Say
- Walking In The Rain
In 1965 Brent Dowe, Tony Brevette and Trevor McNaughton (later replaced by Robert Coggle) assembled as The Melodians. Spring 1966 the group started recording for Coxsone Dodd at Studio One, but only two out of four tracks were released. The following years the group enjoyed a string of hits for top producer Duke Reid: You Don’t Need Me, Come On Little Girl, You Caught Me and I Will Get Along. These songs showcased the trio’s cool and precise harmonies. In 1968 they scored with Little Nut Tree and the immortal Swing And Dine for female producer Sonia Pottinger. The next year they teamed up with producer Leslie Kong and recorded a slew of hits and a first-rate album, Rivers Of Babylon. After Kong’s untimely death in 1971, they recorded for several producers (Lee Perry, Sonia Pottinger, Duke Reid, Harry J.). In 1975 the group split up, but they re-formed in 1976 recording many of their old hits for Harry J. with backing of the Soul Syndicate band. The trio re-formed once again in the mid eighties,, however with little success.
Music On Vinyl
The Dutch vinyl only (high quality 180g LP’s and 7# pressings) reissue label has already earned respect in the reggae scene with superb vinyl reissues of classic albums. Some of their releases are the album Eastwood Rides Again by The Upsetters, Duke Reid’s compilation set Moonlight Groover and A Song by Pablo Moses. More noteworthy releases sets are Live And Direct from Aswad, Bunny Wailer’s outstanding Sings The Wailers and Out Deh! by the late, great Gregory Isaacs.
The company’s latest reissue is the aforementioned Rivers Of Babylon LP, which was released on Kong’s Beverley’s Records label in 1970. In those days producer, Leslie Kong and his label were omnipresent on the island with big names such as Desmond Dekker, the Gaylads, Ken Boothe and the Pioneers. Kong’s steady output of top-quality reggae music was further enhanced when The Melodians joined his stable.
The album contains the best tunes they recorded with Leslie Kong. Except for Rivers Of Babylon, the main theme of the songs is the timeless affairs of the heart. Their initial single for Kong, Sweet Sensation b/w It’s My Delight is included here. Both tunes were big sellers on the island and eventually, Sweet Sensation made the pop charts. Another big tune for them was It Took A Miracle.
Rivers Of Babylon
Title track Rivers of Babylon, written by Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton, finds its lyrical origins from the texts of Psalms 19 and 137 in the Hebrew Bible. The song was featured on the soundtrack album for the 1972 movie The Harder They Come which made it internationally known. When it was released it was banned from the radio because of its Rasta themed lyrics. Leslie Kong stated that it was unheard that a song based on a Psalm from the Bible was banned and soon the song filled the Jamaican airwaves! Rivers of Babylon was popularized in Europe by the 1978 Boney M. cover version.
Side Two contains their lesser-known tunes, but don’t worry…the quality is still there, no dipping from their high standards! The precise and cool harmonies of The Melodians float effortlessly across the riddims. All of these tunes are simple, well crafted songs to listen to. Personal favorites are the sorrowful Lost My Love and Walking In The Rain.