Album review
Groovy Joe
Jo Jo Bennett & Mudies All Stars
17 - 11 - 2002

Tracking list

  1. Groovy Jo Jo
  2. Leaving Rome
  3. Lecture Me
  4. Me And You
  5. Calling You
  6. Mother's Love
  7. What's My Color
  8. 10 Steps To Soul
  9. Velvet Mood
  10. In The Nude
  11. Let Me Tell You Boy
  12. Sweet V
  13. Going Home
  14. Cantaloupe Rock
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : - Backing : 4/5 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4

The classic album "Groovy Joe" from 1970 features mostly instrumentals played by Harry Mudie's regular hornsman Jo Jo Bennett and the excellent studio band Mudies All Stars consisting of Winston Wright (organ), Val Douglas (bass), Gladstone Anderson (piano), Theophilus Beckford (piano), Jeffrey & Mikey Chung (guitar), Winston Grennan (drums), Bobby Ellis (trumpet), David Madden (trumpet), Vin Gordon (trombone) and Tommy McCook (tenor sax), to name a few. The under-celebrated Harry A. Mudie (born 1940, Spanish Town, Jamaica) has brought early reggae the most refined productions as he deftly combined sweet, tuneful melodies with heavy riddims. However, undoubtedly the most daring of his innovations in reggae music was to add strings to some records, an odd combination that he made work as can be witnessed by checking John Holt's classic "Time Is The Master" album.
This reissue of Jo Jo Bennet's "Groovy Joe" album contains twelve original tracks and two bonus tracks and bring us timeless early reggae music in digital clarity. We're treated to wonderful moments and sweet memories from way back, still very entertaining and a joy to listen to. Many highlights on this set including a cut of one of Harry Mudie's best-known hits, the impressive "Leaving Rome", which features some of the best use of strings on a reggae record. Among the vintage instrumentals that were particularly popular as a source for revived dancehall riddims in the first half of the eighties was Jo Jo Bennett's "The Lecture". Here he revives his rocksteady hit (as "Lecture Me") to good effect. It's actually featured as an extended version with first the instrumental and then the vocal part. Other standout tracks are the up-tempo "Me And You", "What's My Color", "Velvet Mood", and a stunning cut of the Ebony Sisters' "Let Me Tell You Boy". This set fully underlines Harry Mudie's statement on the sleeves of his releases... "We make music, not noise!"

Teacher & Mr. T.