The Paragons

The Legendary Paragons

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The Paragons were one of Jamaica's top vocal groups in the 1960s, combining smooth three-part harmonies with simple romantic songs that didn't push the envelope too much. Their legacy in retrospect is remarkably consistent, and includes at least one bona fide classic, the infectious "The Tide Is High," which Blondie turned into an international hit in a 1980 cover version. This intriguing album comes from a slightly later time than the Paragons' peak years with Clement Dodd's Studio One and Duke Reid's Treasure Isle record labels, and was produced largely by Bunny Lee and recorded at Channel One and the Music Lab in Jamaica, with some additional work done at Lloyd Barnes' Wackies studios in New York. The Paragons at this point were on their third or fourth membership incarnation with John Holt, Tyrone Evans, and Howard Barrett handling the singing with veteran Kingston session players like Robbie Shakespeare, Sly Dunbar, Chinna Smith, and Gladdy Anderson handling the rhythms. Nothing here is as immediately striking at the Paragons' earlier hits like "The Tide Is High" or "On the Beach," but "It's Like You're Here with Me," "I'm the One Who's to Blame," and "Just Out of Reach" are all beautifully sung ballads, and the album has an unhurried and simple gracefulness that is completely charming.

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