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The Best of the Paragons

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Album Review

Fourteen songs covering most of the high points of the group's history from 1957 into 1962, and all of their hits from this period. The only complaint one can have is that there's no sense to the order of what's here — it certainly isn't chronological, nor is it even programmed to divide the McMichael from the Witt sides. Saving the signature tune "If" for last was probably not wise, either. The desperate, yearning-filled ballad is so far superior, as a performance and a record, to everything else here (fine as all of it is), that it sweeps aside one's favorable impression of everything else here. The group was at its best behind McMichael and Witt doing soaring, ethereal ballads such as "If" and "Twilight," but they weren't any slouches when it came to hot dance numbers — "Doll Baby" and "Hey Little School Girl" are both fast-paced showcases for good humor and healthy, honest lust. The sound is passable, though one can make out some signs of noise and fuzziness (especially on the highs on "Give Me Love"), and it's likely that a new, modern transfer would eliminate many of these problems. A truly comprehensive collection might also have gone to 16 songs, and included numbers like their rendition of "Begin the Beguine," not a hit but still a great performance, and "In the Midst of the Night," but this CD will do for all but the most serious fans.

Biography

Genre: Reggae

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

If you're familiar with the song "The Tide Is High" you probably know it as a huge hit for Blondie, but before Deborah Harry and company got a hold of it, it was a 1960s hit for the Paragons. Formed in Kingston, Jamaica, the Paragons were originally made up of Garth "Tyrone" Evans, Bob Andy, Junior Menz, and Leroy Stamp. In 1964, just before they broke big in Jamaica, Stamp was replaced by John Holt, and Menz (who left to join another Jamaican vocal group, the Techniques) was replaced by Howard Barret....
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The Best of the Paragons, The Paragons
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