Friday, June 02, 2006:

The Melodians -- In Our Time / I'll Get Along Without You

The Melodians -- In Our Time
The Melodians -- I'll Get Along Without You
The Melodians were a Jamaican group that formed in 1965, when ska was losing ground in favor of the mellower rocksteady sound. The group consisted of Tony Brevett, Brent Dowe, and Trevor McNaughton and recorded for a number of different people--starting out recording on some sessions for Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, then recording some hits for Arthur "Duke" Reid until 1968, then leaving Reid and Studio One to record with Sonia Pottinger at Tip Top Record Shop.

The members of the group wrote most of their own songs, either on their own or as a collaboration, with some co-writing by Renford Cogle. "In Our Time" is one of those; the Trojan disc liner notes credit it to Brevett, Cogle, Dowe, and McNaughton. I think the song might be the sweetest-sounding calling out and call to arms I've heard, painting a picture of injustice and going on to state that indifference is a crime.

They promised us our freedom of choice in our time
They promised us that we would have a voice in our time
But when we raised that voice in doubt
They shot us down and count us out
And tell us they know more about it all in our time


"I'll Get Along Without You," from another Trojan comp of the Melodians' work (this one with poorer liner notes, all SHOUTING IN A SMALL FONT). The song is a cheerful breakup tune with horns and harmonizing indicating the kind of relationship that's gleefully ended.

I found someone who loves me more than you do
And she'll never break my heart, no
So don't you ever try to change my mind
Because I won't take you back
Ya gotta tell her again 'ah-ha, m-hm,
I will get along without you now'


Yet, around the 2:40 mark, the lyrics get a changeup hinting at a bit of doubt: "I will get along without you now / I'm gonna get along somehow." Yes. This seems right: the thought "thank God that's over" followed shortly by "now what?"
[Sweet Sensation: The Best of The Melodians]
[Rivers of Babylon]

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dot-mac bandwidth has reset and the mix-CD songs are back up now. The first post from it will be coming down soon.

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I signed up for an emusic account recently, and I like the pricing but miss the liner notes.... Do you use emusic? What do you think of it? Advantages, disadvantages, gems you've found?

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Comments:
Funny, I was just writing a post for tomorrow with an Augustus Pablo track from a Trojan box set with almost no liner notes. What's the deal with that?

Just signed up for eMusic a couple months ago and love it except when the tracks are defective. I'm still waiting to hear from customer service about credits to my account. As soon as those credits are restored, I'm planning to download a Blue Aeroplanes album that was just added.

These are very sweet.

I'm not clear on the differences between rocksteady, ska and reggae. What makes these songs one or the other?

Funny you mention defective tracks, Amy; I just downloaded one today that skips.

Glad you like them, rosswords. Allmusic has a writeup explaining ska and another taking on rocksteady, which explain things better than I would have.

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