Bobby Melody has passed away.
One of Gregory Isaacs' favourite young talents in the 1970s, one he tipped to the top, was Bobby Melody. The latter, probably best known for his No1 hit tune "Jah Bring I Joy" which he recorded for producer Joe Gibbs, died of cancer on Monday morning 26th April 2010 in Nottingham, England.
A GREAT VOCALIST.
George Vincent Hanson aka Bobby Melody, born in the parish of Trelawny in Jamaica, has been recording for over 40 years. His career started while he was playing his guitar (the wrong way round) for the wannabees of his generation, who were queing up outside a studio in a situation similar to the scene in the Jimmy Cliff film, 'The Harder They Come'. That day went by without the producers finding anyone who could sing. So they decided that Bobby Melody might as well have a go and eventually he was signed. Bobby Melody was discovered while he was minding his own business, singing and playing his guitar in a field. Passer-bys would love the numbers he would write and perform. One of his admirers introduced himself as Peter Tosh and introduced him to his friends. Bobby Melody would record music, then go around the Island selling them successfully. With the contacts he now had Bobby Melody's recording productions would include names like, Lee Perry, Toots & The Maytals, Joe Gibbs, Ansel Collins, Sly Dunbar, Robbie Shakespear, Barnabas just to name a few.
When Bobby Melody was taking a break from one of his recording sessions with the Divine Brothers and took a walk on a beach, he could see a future for him. He didn't know what it was, but it felt good. He got his pen out and started writing. Back in the studio he recorded what he'd just wrote... 'Perception - Chana, Chana'. Of course he had good times, and another one of his songs, 'Best Dress', reflected that.
Then Bobby Melody and his friend Alric Forbes, who together with Peter Paint billed themselves as the Ralph Brothers, met Vivian Jackson aka Yabby You. Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace, Earl 'Chinna' Smith and 'Familyman' Barrett had backed Yabby You up in a Dynamics session that produced what was then called the "Buckers" riddim, that was soon a big hit on Tubby's sound system. The Ralph Brothers rejected Yabby You at first, refusing to believe it was he behind the "Buckers" riddim. But, his credentials established, Bobby Melody and Alric Forbes joined forces at Tubby's studio to voice over the "Buckers" riddim as "Conquering Lion". It's release on the Now label was like the zero milestone for rasta reggae. After a violent confrontation over the rights with Yabby You over what was born again as a mega-hit in the small world of the west side sound systems, Errol Smith intervened and mediated a truce: Bobby Melody and Alric Forbes kept the money received to date, but Yabby You got control of the stampers.
What Bobby Melody also did not know at the time was, that his records were being bought by people outside Jamaica. Because his recordings were on his own label(s) they wouldn't register on an official record sales chart countdown in other countries, but would be heard at almost any party that was going. 'Jah Bring I Joy' playing after Bob Marley and The Wailer's 'One Love' in the same club. It just happened. Bobby Melody's song 'Jah Bring I Joy', inspired by BB Seaton's 'I Bring I Joy', became a No1 for Bobby Melody in Jamaica.
As well as recording and performing with a band, Bobby Melody performed around Jamaica as part of a sound system i.e. Black Scorpio. When on tour in England with Black Scorpio he met someone called Julie on the Nottingham leg and he married her. Bobby Melody continued his live work and now based himself in the East Midlands part of England, hiring muscians whenever they were available. He would perform in Europe or various festivals in England. It was all going well. His marriage that is. It's performing in a band which needed working on. He made a decision and formed his own band. Bobby Melody wanted to do this since he first started music. But so did his friends. They were too busy recording records like, 'Double Barrel', 'Money In My Pocket', 'Get Up Stand Up' and the rest. Trouble was, the session musicians Bobby Melody had hired for his gigs had decided that they could play his music better than him or his friends did on his records, which was not the case. They would only give him one chord riddims to sing over, and would only learn one of his numbers; 'Jah Bring I Joy' - in the wrong key. Over the years the band of session musicians he'd performed his songs with would have a name. Finally, Bobby Melody got himself a band. He gave it two special names. Firstly, 'Corner Stone'. Then, 'Roots Vibration'.
In 2009 Bobby Melody decided that he wanted to record again using his band - now even better, Roots Vibration. On Thursday, 21 May 2009, Bobby Melody was interviewed at the studios of BBC Radio Nottingham in England, on a drivetime show, and gave its presenter, Alan Clifford the first play of 3 of his brand new recordings: 'What's The Agenda', 'Woman Wipe The Tear From Your Eyes', and 'Little Miss Claudie'. On Sunday, 24 May 2009, alongside his famous songs, Bobby Melody performed them at The Maze, a live music venue in Nottingham, England. His fans loved them and the show. On Thursday, 23 July, 2009, rastafarian organisation, The Twelve Tribes of Israel, were having trouble oganising their annual event. Their regular musicians could not do it. At the last minute, Bobby Melody was invited by The Twelve Tribes of Israel, to bring his show to their HQ, on 232 Claremont Road, Moss Side, Manchester, in England. The organisation's original plan was to provide Bobby Melody with a band of their choice. But Bobby Melody's band impressed them.
Source: Roots Vibration's myspace page.
February 28, 1951-April 26, 2010