Genuine Love
Leroy Brown
Dakarai Music International
June 10, 2006

Track list
  1. Blessings
  2. More Than That
  3. Rent A Tile
  4. Genuine Love
  5. Perfidia
  6. Heartache
  7. All Things Are Possible
  8. One Little Kiss
  9. Show Me
  10. All That Glitters
  11. Can't Stop Me (Extended Mix) feat. Pam Hall
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 3 Production : 3 Sound quality : 3 Sleeve : 3
At a time when so much reggae music is so very deeply mired in backward looking cliché, poor roots/one drop/steppers, conservatively rigid imitation and pastiche -- At a time when so many reggae releases (from both Europe and JA) have little or no quality control -- it is a pleasure to have a powerful, emotional vocalist like Leroy Brown back on the scene after such a long absence.

Leroy Brown came to our attention once more with the impressive and inexplicably overlooked "Color Barrier" album, re released by Makasound earlier in the year.

After hearing that release, the listener couldn't help but be amazed it had received so little attention first time around when it was released in the late 70's/early 80's -- how could the wisdom poetry of tunes like "Money Is The Barrier" have escaped the radar, left to be appreciated by the hardcore underground roots followers and collectors alone?

This album, "Genuine Love", is unsurprisingly, not as strong -- But that would be a difficult feat anyway, considering how near perfect "Color Barrier" was.

It must be said -- this album could be more challenging in its drum and bass arrangements -- Musically, whilst enjoyable, polished and with excellent uplifting vibes, "Genuine Love" isn't saying anything significantly new.

But lyrically, and as far as vocal melodies go -- this is a worthy album, bringing to mind vocalists such as Joe Higgs, The Ethiopian and some of the earlier Sonia Pottinger High Note stable chanters and The Chantells (Check out the Heartbeat releases by these artists for comparisons to Leroy's vocal/lyrical styles).

So -- If you are seeking backward looking "steppers" pastiches, look elsewhere. If you are seeking stodgy "one drop" cash in stereotypes, look elsewhere. If you are expecting by now relentlessly overdone "roots by numbers" lyrics, with questionable religious themes and pretensions of dubious spiritual sincerity, look elsewhere.

If however -- you are seeking powerful and insightful lyrics, dealing with the struggle of everyday life, the challenges to survive and the need to maintain an even state of mind and a sense of stoicism -- then you will find this mature and thoughtful album a fine work.

Leroy Brown is back, and one hopes his work will reach the wider audience it so surely deserves this time around -- Now what would be truly interesting to hear would be a team up with Adrian Sherwood's studio. A fusion of the imaginations of Bonjo, Tony Philips, the ex Sugarhill Gang, Bubblers Ogilvie and Sherwood would surely bring the best out of this talented lyricist and vocalist.