The Melodians

Sweet Sensation

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On the one hand, yes, this is just one more Melodians best-of, no better or worse than any of the many others on the reggae market. On the other hand, it shares only one track with a similarly titled collection on the Mango label and, amazingly, only two with a much more generous previous collection on Trojan (titled Rivers of Babylon: Best of 1967-1973). So although it may seem generic, this collection actually offers a wealth of tracks not commonly seen on other compilations. The inevitable "Sweet Sensation" (a Melodians song made famous in the U.S. when UB40 included a version on its first Labour of Love album) and "Rivers of Babylon" are here, and they bracket the 25-track program. In between are such choice obscurities as the chugging rocksteady number "What More Can I Say," an incongruously energetic romantic lament called "Lonely Nights," and a powerful (if slightly out of tune) cover of the Drifters' soul classic "I'll Take You Where the Music's Playing." Now that most of the group's original albums are all but impossible to find, these best-of collections are fast becoming the only way to acquire some of this fine material. Highly recommended.

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