Monday Video Flashback: The Melodians “Rivers of Babylon”
It’s time for another dose of let’s get the week started with a little reggae vinyl goodness. Truly great vinyl has to not only have that classic tune that just hits you right it also needs to have a cool label. I’ve always been a fan of label art and there are some great ones out there. Bigshot. Trojan. Bluebeat. Doctor Bird. Jackpot.
Well the Trojan subsidiary Summit has an amazingly simple and yet very colorful label that mesmerizes as it spins on the table. As the name implies it’s a mountain summit and thus there is a snow-capped mountain top in almost garish muted tone colors. Gotta love it!
The Melodians, arguably the finest rocksteady group, were formed in the Greenwich Town area of Kingston in 1965 by Tony Brevett (brother of Skatalites bassist Lloyd Brevett), Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton. In 1966 The Melodians made their recording debut with Clement “Coxsone” Dodd’s Studio One label with the releases “Lay It On” “Meet Me”, “I Should Have Made It Up” and “Let’s Join Hands (Together).”
From 1967 to 1968 they had a number of hits on Duke Reid’s Treasure Isle label, including “You Have Caught Me”, “Expo 67”, “I’ll Get Along Without You”, and “You Don’t Need Me.” After recording “Swing and Dine” for producer Sonia Pottinger, they recorded their biggest hit, “Rivers of Babylon” for Leslie Kong. This song became an anthem of the Rastafarian movement, and was featured on the soundtrack for, The Harder They Come.
After Kong’s death in 1971, they recorded for Lee Perry and Byron Lee’s Dynamic Studios as well.
Here’s “Rivers of Babylon” (Summit/ Trojan label SUM-6508) 1970.