Trojan Records is reporting that Brent Gayford Dowe of the Melodians passed away at the end of January. The singer and founding member suffered from a heart attack in his home in Hugenden, Jamaica on the 29th at the age of 59.
The Melodians were one of Jamaica's most popular vocal groups, having recorded with Clement "Coxson" Dodd, Arthur "Duke" Reid, and many other early producers. The band fit into the Rocksteady wave of Jamaican music quite well, with a string of hits starting in 1964 and running through 1970. After suffering from a lack of royalty payments, the group joined the Gaylads, Delroy Wilson and Ken Boothe to form Links, Jamaica's first artist-owned record cooperative. While this venture proved unsuccessful, it did allow the band to later retain creative control over their works, including production and royalty payments.
Dowe was met with success in his solo endeavors in the mid-70's, and continued recording, even after the Melodians' hiatus in 1983. The band recently came back together to record and perform, including a recent tour of California.
Brent was remembered in a service on Sunday, February 12th at the Oakton Park headquarters of Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes & Affiliates. Our condolences go out to Brent's family and friends.