Song of the Day: The Melodians “Rivers of Babylon”
I spent a lot of time hiking and camping in my late teens. With some pasta and beef jerky I would spend days in the Appalachian forests learning about edible plants and building shelters. One trip was 2 and half weeks long. Two and a half weeks of eating crab apples, chick weed, and hen of the woods. Two and a half weeks of bathing with jewel weed in cold mountain streams. Two and a half weeks of sunlight thru the trees and watching the Milky Way turn above Old Rag. It was closest I have ever felt to nature. To me it was heaven. Then I had to go back. I had to work. I felt trapped. It seems that there was a conspiracy to enslave all of humanity to work so that a select few could bath in the fruits of our labors and live in excess. I found only one word that describe what I saw: Babylon.
The Melodians hit track “Rivers of Babylon” was more that a song to me. Sure, I was privileged white suburbanite with some “serious” quality problems but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t on to something. As the years went on ideals where worn down, reality set in, and responsibilities came along. Though I find more humanity in our society and progress than plot I still believe that there are real, human, forces at work to exploit us. To me this song is a reminder.
The Melodians formed in the Greenwich Town area of Kingston in 1965 by Tony Brevett (brother of Skatalites bassist Lloyd Brevett), Brent Dowe and Trevor McNaughton. They are regarded as one of the greatest rocksteady groups of all time. Rocksteady is a slower more soulful answer to Ska and more reminiscent of what most people would consider the traditional reggae. As well in the 70s we see more religious and political themes emerge. The band enjoyed a long career touring up till 2013. The death of Tony Brevett in 2013 left McNaughton as the only surviving original member.