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World Music CD Reviews Reggae & Caribbean

THE MELODIANS

By Vikram Patel
Published September 8, 2005

Sweet Sensation
Mango

The Melodians, along with the Techniques, the Paragons, the Jamaicans and the Maytals, were one of the great vocal trios of the rocksteady and early reggae eras. Made up of Brent Dowe, Trevor McNaughton and Tony Brevett, the group had a sweet and wistful sound that borrowed equally from American soul and Jamaican church music. They made their most lasting music for producer Leslie Kong’s Beverley’s label, which also coaxed hits from Toots and the Maytals and Desmond Dekker in those years. This album collects the Melodians’ best tracks from their collaboration with Kong, mixing in sweetly hormonal teenage come-ons like “Sweet Sensation,” “Walking In The Rain,” “It’s My Delight” and “Too Young to Fall In Love” with the coded Rasta imagery of “Let’s Give Praise And Thanks” and one of the first recorded versions of the classic “Rivers Of Babylon.” Throughout it all, the group maintains a bouncy pace over the gently rocking music that was calculated to appeal to uptown swells and downtown sufferahs alike.