I Feel So Bad
Jackie Edwards
Castle Music
July 3, 2006

Track list
  1. I Feel So Bad
  2. Come On Home
  3. Come Back Girl
  4. Tell Me What It's All About
  5. If This Is Heaven
  6. Baby I Want To Be Near You
  7. I Don't Know
  8. In A Dream
  9. How Can You Hang On To A Dream
  10. Put Your Tears Away
  11. Tell Me Right Now
  12. Do You Want Me
  13. I Don't Want To Be Made A Fool Of
  14. Summertime
  15. Hush
  16. Keep On Running
  17. Somebody Help Me
  18. Ooh Ooh
  19. Oh Mary
  20. My Love And I
  21. L.O.V.E.
  22. I Must Go Back
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
Growing up as a roots reggae and dub fanatic in the 70's, I was no different from most serious roots followers in that I avoided anything by Jackie Edwards -- with the exception of course, of the apocalyptic and quite uncharacteristic "Invasion," a tune so near perfect, so reflective yet so shatterringly heavy, it changed hands for significant sums of money amongst collectors' circles in basement roots stores from North to East, to the West side of London.

As for the rest of his tunes?

Many roots collectors considered them too light -- like a pastiche of US soul and r n' b. They might have sold well to older bluebeat heads, soul heads, sharp dressed Mods and Northern Soul fans -- but in roots stores, they tended to gather dust in the back of the clearance /bargain boxes.

Listening to them all these years later -- it is clear how wrong many of us were. To see them as simply a rip off of US artists like Otis Redding is quite erroneous and unfair. These are great tunes, adding something quite unique to the soul brew from USA.

Imagine the sinewy bass lines of the JB's -- aggressive, yet full of soul inspiring harmonies, replete with a sense of swagger and danger fused with a JA consciousness and Gnostic depth -- and you can get some insight into the real worth of this album, with its songs of love and loss, pessemism and rejection and sometimes, redemption.

Strings in reggae are usually a ghastly saccharine mistake (go on, how many good reggae tunes can you name with violins then?) -- not so here, as the icy string arrangements add a depth and loneliness, a sense of isolation to the compositions, contrasted with the sticky funk b lines.

For those of you into harsh, yet sometimes introspectively cerebral funk with intense grooves as in tunes like the JB's "Escape-ism", "Control", or Hank Ballard's "From The Love Side" -- you are going to love this one.

There are also similarities to Nat King Cole tunes like "Nature Boy" and even comparisons to be made between Jackie's style and that of Bim Sherman.

Those who want to limit themselves to a dour diet of all those endless relicks of decades old conservative steppers and one drop styles however -- perhaps best look elsewhere.