Roots & Love Reggae and The Pioneer Inn in Nederland present a Ska & Rocksteady Halloween Bash, Oct. 30, featuring The Melodians & Monty Morris with The Yellow Wall Dub Squad. Dulceemania Sound System opens the show.
The Melodians are one of Jamaica’s greatest rocksteady groups. The band cut a series of classic singles during the late ’60s and early ’70s that included the internationally famed “Rivers of Babylon” and “Sweet Sensation.” Last year, the act celebrated 50 years in the music business.
The Melodians were formed in the Greenwich Town area of Kingston, Jamaica in 1963, by Tony Brevett, Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton.
The group recorded material with Prince Buster before being introduced to Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One label where in 1966 they recorded “Lay It On,” “Meet Me,” “I Should Have Made It Up” and “Let’s Join Hands (Together).” Lead vocal duties were shared between Brevett and Dowe.
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 record producer Sonia Pottinger, they had further hits with “Little Nut Tree” before recording 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 movie, The Harder They Come.
After Kong’s death in 1971, The Melodians recorded for Lee Perry and Byron Lee’s Dynamic Studios. In 1973, Brent Dowe left the group for a solo career. The group reformed briefly a few years later, and again in the early 1980s.
The Melodians regrouped once again in the 1990s as part of the roots revival. In 1992 they recorded “Song of Love” and began touring internationally again.
In November 2005 the act embarked on a successful West Coast tour backed by the Yellow Wall Dub Squad, revving its presence on the touring circuit.
Dowe passed away from a heart attack in 2006, but the band continued to tour.
Throughout 2013, The Melodians toured across the US, in celebration of its Golden Jubilee. In August, Tony Brevett was diagnosed with cancer and thus succumbed to his illness and passed on Oct. 25, 2013.
Trevor McNaughton continues carrying the legacy in tribute to Brevett. He is joined by “Monty” Morris, considered to be one of the foundation artists of ska.
The Yellow Wall Dub Squad is the premiere original authentic roots reggae band comprised of Jamaican studio session musicians.
The all ages show at the Pioneer Inn, 15 East First St. in Nederland, begins at 10 p.m. Costumes are encouraged, but not required. For tickets, which are $10 in advance, visit http://www.holdmyticket.com/event/183084.
Published in the October 2014 issue of the MMAC Monthly