Merger

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Merger formed in the mid-70s, and the line-up comprised Barry Ford (lead vocals, guitar), Winston Bennett (vocals, guitar), Ivor Steadman (bass), Mike Osei (drums) and Tony Osei (keyboards). Their 1977…
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Merger formed in the mid-70s, and the line-up comprised Barry Ford (lead vocals, guitar), Winston Bennett (vocals, guitar), Ivor Steadman (bass), Mike Osei (drums) and Tony Osei (keyboards). Their 1977 debut, Exiles In A Babylon, featured the keyboard skills of Mike Dorane, who had been involved in the UK reggae scene for a number of years. Initially, the set was released in West Africa, only surfacing in the UK following a remix. Bennett had previously recorded in 1968 as part of Errol Daniels And The Garments, and prior to Merger, recorded Seeds Of The Earth with Ivor Steadman for EMI Records. The name Merger described the fusion of reggae and other sounds, along with the fact that the band members were of Ghanaian and Jamaican parentage. The group played their first gig at Brixton’s Cloud club, a concert that resulted in an ardent following. Their reputation spread and they attracted an abundance of media attention. The release of ‘Ghetto Child’ and a tribute to Steve Biko were popular releases. In 1978 Barry Ford elected to pursue a solo career and was replaced by Far I and Ras Damjuma. The group maintained a low profile until Bob Dylan chose them to play at his outdoor concert in Blackbushe Aerodrome. Following his departure from the group, Ford returned to Jamaica where he teamed up with Pablo Black, Bagga Walker and Freddie McGregor to record Cool Breeze Blowing, featuring the title track, ‘JA People’ and ‘Curfew’. Ford was also reacquainted with Pam Nestor, and they recorded ‘Hiding And Seeking No More’, which was remixed in the UK by Dennis Bovell in 1979. In 1980 Merger’s new line-up recorded Armageddon Time at the Rock City Studios in London. In 1996 Winston Bennett released Prisoner Of Love, which contained two tracks recorded in 1980 with Merger.