Twinkle BrothersView in iTunes
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It seems as though the Twinkle Brothers have been around since the beginning of time, or at least the beginning of reggae. Led by Norman Grant, the Twinkles began in the early '60s as a trio featuring Grant and his two brothers singing in a slick trio style similar to that of the Melodians and the Mighty Diamonds. In the early '70s, the group hooked up with the influential producer and arranger Bunny Lee, a union that produced a number of reggae hits including "We Can Do It Too" and "Miss Laba Laba." In 1975, the Twinkles released their best and most widely known record, Rasta Pon Top, a rasta-infused, roots-heavy demi-masterpiece that included soul and gospel vocal stylings within the deep grooves. Although hardcore reggae audiences were the principal fans of the Twinkle Brothers, Grant and company were consistently releasing chart-topping records. As much as this brought great success to the band, it also created a significant amount of friction, as Grant began seeing himself more as a solo act and less as a member of a trio. This culminated in Grant's pursuit of a solo career as more of a MOR soul singer. It wasn't an awful decision by any stretch of the imagination, but his solo work wasn't nearly as good as what the Twinkles had been doing. As if relations within the rest of the Twinkles weren't strained enough, in a bizarre move, Grant joined the popular band Inner Circle in 1981 following the death of the group's original lead singer, Jacob "Killer" Miller, one year earlier. It seemed that the career of the Twinkle Brothers was becoming secondary. But, as has been the case throughout their career, the Grant brothers seemed to excel at mending fences, and within no time, the Twinkle Brothers were back. Though their records are quite hard to find (many of them released on their own Twinkle label), they have recorded some intriguing music. During the mid-'90s, they traveled to Poland (where their records apparently sell very well) to record with the folksinging Trebunia Family. What sounded like an unlikely union in fact yielded a great though widely unknown record, Twinkle Inna Poland Style. Then again, serving up the extraordinary has become a Twinkle Brothers trademark. ~ John Dougan