Tag Archives: The Paragons

Sly & Robbie meet The Paragons in dub

81yanrP5-0L._SL1500_Island Records did something strange last year. They reissued the album Sly & Robbie Meet The Paragons adding another ten tracks, of which nine are previously unreleased dub versions. But on the album sleeve they don’t mention anything about these added tracks. It looks like the original set from 1981.

They should of course have marketed this treasure chest much harder. I mean unreleased dub mixes of Sly & Robbie rhythms mixed by Steven Stanley in the early 80s. That’s pure dynamite. The dub album could easily have been a single album. Or better – a double vinyl album with one vocal set and one dub counterpart. Unfortunately Island didn’t do it that way. They released a CD and digital version with the added tracks while the vinyl only comes with the ten original cuts.

Flaws aside, this is a superb album remastered to perfection. When it was originally released in 1981 it marked the reunion of one of Jamaica’s premier vocal groups and harmony trios. They were led by the late John Holt, who is the essence of smoothness, and on this set they teamed up with Sly & Robbie to re-record some of their greatest tracks in an early dancehall fashion. Included are melancholic and uplifting masterpieces like On the Beach, My Best Girl, Riding On a High and Windy Day, Man Next Door and The Tide is High, which was successfully covered by both Blondie and Atomic Kitten.

Every track on this set is excellent and same goes for the dub versions, which showcases both Steven Stanley’s mixing skills and the strength of Sly & Robbie’s rhythms. Cuts like Riding the Rhythm, with its haunting bass line, Wear Out the Dub, with its picking guitar and hint of vocals, and Indiana James, with its eerie synths, are pure genius. Indiana James is actually the only dub version that has been previously available. It was featured on Sly & Robbie’s Raiders of the Lost Dub released in the early 80s.

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John Holt has died

1970 - On The BeachLegendary Jamaican singer John Holt died yesterday evening in a hospital in London. He was 69 years old and had been ill for some time according to Jamaica-Gleaner.

John Holt was the essence of smoothness and made lovers rock before the genre was invented. He started his career – just as many of his peers – at Studio One and Treasure Isle in the mid-60s. He was one of the founding members of the highly successful vocal trio The Paragons, a trio that made immortal gems like On the Beach, Happy Go Lucky Girl and The Tide if High, later covered by U.S. pop rockers Blondie.

He soon left The Paragons to pursue a solo career and he put out several classics, including A Love I Can Feel and Strange Things. He also dabbled with disco and strings, but later moved on to dancehall. And it was with Henry “Junjo” Lawes he scored one of his biggest hits – Police in Helicopter, taken from the album with the same name.

John Holt continued to tour and perform almost up until the time of his death and he will be greatly missed.

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