Urban Poet
Junior Kelly
Irievibrations Records
CD / Digital Release
October 26, 2015

Track list
  1. No Dig It Up
  2. Everybody Needs Somebody
  3. Power To The People
  4. No More War
  5. In Love
  6. High Hopes
  7. No One Is Higher
  8. Stay With Me
  9. Mile In My Shoes
  10. To Get By
  11. Put It Pon You
  12. Hooked On Mary
  13. Memories
  14. False Pretender
  15. Sneak Peek
  16. Alive (Bonus Track)
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4 Backing : 4 Production : 3/4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 5
Junior Kelly was born in 1969 in Jamaica. He saw violence inflicted upon his family when his brother was killed over money. His brother, the deejay Jim Kelly, had become quite popular before he was murdered. So Junior Kelly decided to take up the reins and keep the music going, but in his own style. He cut his teeth after this tragedy by playing festivals and cutting singles (his first was "Over Her Body' at the age of 16). He participated in some major gatherings in the 1990s, such as Reggae Sun Splash and even went to the United States and made some singles. But it lasted until 2000 when he hit it big with the single "Love So Nice". It first did well in Europe (in 1999), running around on the reggae and pop charts. Then it hit Jamaica and hit number one. Since then he became one of the major forces in reggae music, a preacher of social consciousness and justice, with notable albums for several renown production houses. His latest album is called "Urban Poet" and sees him in combination with the Austrian label Irievibrations Records.

"No Dig It Up" opens the album, an outstanding vigorous rootical acoustic ballad, followed by the R'n'B flavored tune "Everybody Needs Somebody", not our cup of tea. He returns with pride and energy with the standout tune "Power To The People", a typical Junior Kelly song. Boom tune! Next comes "No More War", a dancehall/funk tune that doesn't deserve any attention, and the same goes for "In Love". The uptempo tune "High Hopes" is an average reggae tune, not one of his best tunes. "No One Is Higher" makes us wonder... Junior Kelly goes gospel? Skip it! He returns to the reggae field with "Stay With Me", but then returns again to the funk/soul arena with "Mile In My Shoes", a tune that sounds like it was recorded in the Stax Studios during the late sixties. The same goes for "Hooked On Mary". "Put It Pon You" reminds us of Bob Marley's "Could You Be Loved", while we are pleasantly surprised by the reggae song "False Pretender", a really decent effort! The tune "Sneak Peek" is a tumid ballad, so fast forward to the bonus track "Alive" that should have been omitted.

Too much urban, too little reggae, too little Junior Kelly.