Lyrics To Riddim
Thwe Melodians
September 9, 2013

Track list
  1. Lyrics To Riddim
  2. Marcus Garvey
  3. Son Of The Ghetto
  4. It's Alright
  5. Lost My Love
  6. This World
  7. Go Before Us Jah
  8. Praise Jah Now
  9. Tell You How I Feel
  10. Two Sisters
  11. I Just Wanna Dance
  12. Am I Too Late For Love
  13. Humble Yourself
  14. Holy Train
  15. Reefer
  16. Poor & Needy
  17. Happy Birthday
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Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
The Melodians' impact on Rocksteady and Reggae music is monumental to say the least. The classic harmony trio put out a slew of anthems that are still pertinent fifty years later! To celebrate this length of time in the arena, Heavybeat Records has released a new set of classic tracks; six of which were recorded prior to the untimely passing of Brent Dowe in 2005. Music of sheer beauty - Rest In Zion, Mr.Brent Dowe...

The Melodians (Brent Dowe/Tony Brevett/Trevor McNaughton) began their career in 1960; performing at amateur talent contests in Kingston. It wasn't until April 1966 when they did their first recordings; with Coxsone Dodd at Studio One. The following years proved to be their HIT making time in every sense. At Duke Reid's Treasure Isle, they hit huge with "You Don't Need Me", "I Will Get Along", "I Caught You" and "Come On Little Girl" (this all between 1967-8). The precise harmonies took Jamaica by storm. In 1968, they raised the level with "Little Nut Tree" and the immortal "Swing & Dine" for Sonia Pottinger. The following year, they linked with Leslie Kong; which proved internationally wise. "Sweet Sensation" and the Rasta influenced "Rivers Of Babylon" (sold 75,000 copies in the UK alone) were released. These two songs are still versioned to this day. In the early 70's, the group split up, with each member putting out some really Roots sides. In 1976, they regrouped for Harry J to revisit some tunes with The Soul Syndicate and disbanded again. The early 1980's proved ites for the group with the great "Irie Feelings" set (RAS, 1983) and Brent Dowe showing up on Singers & Players' "Vacuum Pumping" singing "These Eyes" (classic rendition). The group stayed busy at revival concerts and Brent briefly linking with Cedric Myton. In 2005, they headed to Heavybeat Studio but Brent had a vision of not seeing the completion of the project! Their last appearance together was in New York City with Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe, Errol Dunkley and Marcia Griffiths. Brent Dowe passed unto Zion shortly after.

"Lyrics To Riddim" features an all star roster. Sly Dunbar/Paul Douglas-drums, Robbie Shakespeare, Computer Paul-bass, Willie Lindo, Kashief Lindo-guitars, Keith Sterling, Robbie Lyn, Karl Pitterson-keys and a rare appearance from Pablove Black-kette drum. There's a great horn section of Nambo and Dean Fraser. This set was produced by Willie Lindo and engineered by the Heavybeat Crew. The set opens up with the title track that's massive. Over a thunderable Sly & Robbie fueled riddim, the precise harmonies have only gotten better and the plea for the world to get together like Lyrics To Riddim is pure genius and the Rootiest excursion from them in years. Marcus Garvey features Brent on lead vox over a Kashief Lindo programmed riddim that blends old and new. His voice is so sweet and seasoned; it's undescribable! Righteous ode fe real. Son Of The Ghetto is a rocking track that brings back the Golden Years. Sly & Robbie and Nambo really bring it here. Strong reality tune that truly resonates. One of the standout selections is It's Alright. Brent is mighty on lead and we are taken back to Rocksteady road in fine glory. A beautiful Love song supported by the concrete harmonies of Trevor and Tony. WOW!!! The Rocksteady revisit continues with the Sly/Robbie/Nambo/Fraser fueled backbone that Tony Brevett just shines on. This World is one of the most beautiful acoustic pieces this reviewer has heard inna while. Akin to a modern "Rivers Of Babylon", this mastercraft is sweetened by Pablove Black's Kette drumming - sweet and sensational! Go Before Us Jah has Brent magically on lead vox just chanting Rastafari - this is serious matter!! The Roots vein continues with Praise Jah Now; once again musically orchestrated by Sly/Robbie/Pablo and Nambo's trombone just flyin'. A sincere and solid effort by singers and players.

Tell You How I Feel is classic Melodians style. Clear and heartfelt harmonies over a clever Lindo family riddim; it's got the essentials that put the group on the map in the first place. This formula continues with Two Sisters and Am I Too Late For Love. Pure songs of Love with a Churchical country sound that's filling to the Heart and Soul. Humble Yourself is a Roots masterpiece with a hint of Wailing Souls style to it. It's amazing how Robbie can navigate his bass thru the drum program. Great bubbling from Kashief Lindo, who has grown before our eyes into a serious multi-talent. Holy Train is the second standout selection here! Brent evokes so much passion and dignity and the emotional and powerful harmonies are just amazing. Add this song to your top Melodian's faves! Nuff Raspect to Paul Douglas to just mashing it on drums! Poor & Needy is a meditative ode to The Most High with some great work from Keith Sterling. Harmonies without boundaries. The final track, Happy Birthday, makes you wonder if Brent knew his days on Earth were numbered. He pours everything into this Heartical Love song and presents a falsetto gesture that is pure Zion. Amazing song that comes across as if he's linking with you.

The Melodian's "Lyrics To Riddim" is a stellar set that has something for everyone. The ability to put out songs of such class and power after fifty years is amazing and is the work of The Most High. We may have lost Brent Dowe, but the Melodians pledge to live on with upcoming tours and this set is a great livication to one of Jamaica's most dynamic groups. You need to get this release! GO DEH!!!!!!