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The Paragons


If the Paragons were from Detroit, it's likely Berry Gordy would have snatched them up and made them into world-famous stars, and they'd have lived public lives as long as Methuselah's, thanks to boxed set reissues and endless reunions. Instead, Jamaica's most amazing vocal group blazed at home -- their star did reach as far as Ska-crazed Britain -- until their flame faded to a smoldering cult. Among the finest of Ska's original acts, the Paragons delivered four-part harmonies that comfortably rode waves of music, gliding through verses as if fitted with sails. Their songs didn't rely on Ska's standard props of horns and bass as much as they glorified Soul, placing Ska rhythms beneath vocal lines that could have been bred in the Motor City. The band progressed to Rock Steady before slowing the tempo to Roots Reggae's leisurely pace, eventually performing Dub and Dancehall with new stars such as Yellowman. Unfortunately, outside of Jamaica few know of the Paragons' work, aside from Blondie's impressive interpretation of their classic "The Tide Is High." As is often the case with originals, they've made it into the history books, but only as a footnote.
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