The Melodians are one of Jamaica’s greatest rocksteady trios, maybe not as well-known as The Uniques or The Paragons, even though they were responsible for hits such as Sweet Sensation and Rivers of Babylon. The latter was successfully covered by German disco group Boney M in 1978.
The Melodians started in 1963 and they made their debut recording for Clement ”Coxsone” Dodd in 1966. To celebrate their 50th anniversary The Melodians have put out a brand new album titled Lyrics to Riddim, dedicated to the late lead singer Brent Dowe, who passed away in 2005. Tony Brevett, the other lead singer, passed away not more than a week ago.
They started working on the album just before Brent Dowe’s passing and it collects 17 brand new tracks, of which six has Brent Dowe on lead vocals. It’s their first album with new material since 1983.
Veteran producer and session guitarist Willie Lindo is responsible for the production. He played on Lyrics To Riddim, alongside drum and bass section Sly and Robbie, keyboardist Robbie Lyn, saxophonist Dean Fraser and trombonist Nambo Robinson.
Lyrics to Riddim is a decent set of warm and easy songs, especially the title track and Son of the Ghetto. It however sounds a bit dated and plastic and the harmonizing could have been slightly more polished.
This set will not change the course of reggae history and The Melodians will probably best be remebered for their work with Sonia Pottinger, Duke Reid and Leslie Kong.