Black Star Presents Vivian Jones
Vivian Jones
Black Star Foundation
January 9, 2015

Track list
  1. Chant Rastafari
  2. Want It Fe Nothin' feat. Spectacular
  3. Now They Are After Me
  4. That Love (Extended Version)
  5. All My Life
  6. All My Dub
  7. One Love
  8. Bhing Dready (Discomix)
  9. If The Tree Could Talk
  10. If The Tree Could Dub
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Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
After having been a member of bands like The Spartans, The Mighty Vibes and The Pieces in the mid and late 70's, Vivian Jones pursued a solo career in 1980 and established himself as one of the finest vocalists and songwriters in the UK. It was the single "Good Morning" that topped the UK reggae chart and signalled the beginning of a run of hits for the singer. In the late 80's/early 90's he released a series of hits, including "Strong Love", "Extra Classic", "I Care", "A Woman Should Be", "Sugar Love" and "Happiness", all bonafide classics in the Lovers Rock genre. And although these kinda songs created a strong Lovers Rock image, Vivian Jones showed that he also could deliver convincing roots & culture music. Prime examples are albums such as "Jah Works", "Iyaman" (featuring Iauwata & Jah Wayne), "The King" and "Big Leaders". Also of interest is "Tribute To The Gugulethu 7", a collection of tunes produced and recorded in South Africa in 2004.

For his latest full length album, his very first collection of tunes that was entirely produced in Europe, Vivian Jones collaborated with Black Star Foundation from Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and their producer and multi-instrumentalist Eelco Kastermans aka Asher-E. It took about five years before "Black Star Presents Vivian Jones" was finally ready to hit the streets, but it truly pays off in the end as this is a good album from the veteran singer. In the past decade we've seen a growing number of Jamaican reggae artists collaborating with European producers and most of the times it led to a refreshing and inspired sounding project. Largely this also goes for this brand new Vivian Jones album, which contains 8 vocals tracks - only two of them being romantic songs - plus two dub versions.

The album opens with "Chant Rastafari", a tune that previously appeared on Black Star Foundation's juggling set "Rub A Dub Riddim". Laid by Firehouse Crew's drum & bass section, George "Dusty" Miller & Donald Dennis, the riddim that underpins this great cultural piece relicks Alexander Henry's original 1969 "Please Be True" riddim. Next comes a solid ska-fueled track, the uplifting "Want It Fe Nothin'", done in collaboration with Jamaican singjay Spectacular. And again it are George "Dusty" Miller & Donald Dennis who are involved in creating the riddim track. The message tune "Now They Are After Me" is an above average effort across an infectious original riddim with great horn parts by Simon de Zwaan (sax) and Guido van de Wijdeven (trumpet). Also wicked sax play, this time by Hans van Scharen, on the head nodding lovers piece "That Love", a tune that really sticks to your head. However, lyrically it's outmatched by the beautiful "All My Life", which is followed by a real nice dub version. "One Love" (not the Marley song!) - reggae's well-known call for living together in unity, peace and harmony - is a decent piece, but it's the deep roots of the excellent "Bhinghy Dready" that makes a serious impression. Awesome!! And although carrying a different mood and vibe, this also goes for the mesmerizing "If The Tree Could Talk". Big tune!! Love the dub version with a nice melodica played by Asher-E.

All in all "Black Star Presents Vivian Jones" is a real fine album, well worth checking out!