Lovers Rock And Soul
CD / Digital Release
September 21, 2015
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 5|
Clifford Smith was born in Kingston in 1974. In his early years as a singjay, Mr. Vegas sang covers of Jamaican hits at local parties and shows, but after hearing Beenie Man's hit "Who Am I" he changed his speech pattern and started practice toasting. He found fame in 1998 with hits such as "Yu Sure", "Jack It Up", and "Latest News". For his first major hit, Mr. Vegas versioned the wildly popular "Playground" riddim to create "Nike Air", which became a huge hit in Jamaica. The next single, "Heads High", followed its success in Jamaica with a chart run in the UK and a No. 69 peak on the US R&B chart.
In 1998 his debut album "Heads High" was released, and became an instant chart topper. Mr. Vegas won a MOBO for Best Reggae Artist for the "Heads High" album as well. In 2001, he issued the album "Damn Right", featuring guest appearances from Shaggy and Big Yard. The "Pull Up" album was released two years later. The 2007 album "Hot It Up", featured the Jamaican hits "Hot Wuk", "Taxi Fare" and "Tek Weh Yuhself". After a period of unproductivity he made a come back in 2009 when he made new songs such as "Man A Gallis", "Can't Stop Now" (Major Lazer), "Mix Up Peggy", "Wanna See You Move" (DJ GQ) and "Fi Get Rich".
On his newly formed label imprint, MV Music, he released the highly successful double album "Sweet Jamaica". This album was released to celebrate the 50th anniversary of reggae music and of Jamaican independence and featured cover versions of classic reggae songs and another disc that focuses on dancehall music with guest such as Shaggy, Luciano, Josey Wales, Nadine Sutherland, Dean Fraser and Jovi Rockwell. Last year he charted with his album "Reggae Euphoria" that brought the listener a mix of genres including reggae, dancehall, hip-hop, R&B, comedy, and even gospel. His latest offering is an album called "Lovers Rock And Soul".
"This is my seventh official album and I wanted it to be special. That's why I chose to sing these songs. They are all classics and personal favorites of mine. I also want this album to stand the test of time and be remembered as one of the great albums in the modern era of reggae".
The albums kicks off in fine style. Flowing across an updated lick of Slim Smith's "Rougher Yet" riddim, Mr. Vegas does an impressive rendition of Ed Sheeran's monster hit "Thinking Out Loud". "There's Nothing Better Than Love" is a beautiful duet recorded in 1986 by the late greats Luther Vandross & Gregory Hines and Mr. Vegas certainly knows how to handle this classic tune! "Love Is All Around", originally done by Wet Wet Wet, fails to make a decent impression, but he does an heartfelt combination tune, Jon B & Babyface's "Someone To Love", with sweet voiced vocalist Natel. Next comes a strong version of Cindy Lauper's "Time After Time" on the "Queen Majesty" riddim. Wicked tune! Also included are "When You Say Nothing At All", originally done by Irish singer Ronan Keating, and Bryan Adams' "To Really Love A Woman".
Alton Ellis' 1967 Treasure Isle smasher "Girl I've Got A Date" gets a decent reworking, but one of our fav tunes here is "Lady In Red". In 1968 The Invaders recorded at Studio One the tune "Soulful Music", but it got famous as Freddie McGregor's "Bandulu". That riddim is used for Chris de Burgh's lovers tune "Lady In Red", Mr. Vegas' dancehall flavored version is definitely worth a triple spin! The album closes with "Say Amen", originally recorded by Howard Hewett in 1996, and is delivered across a contemporary version of "The General" riddim. The album is co-produced by Mr. Vegas and Cleveland 'Clevie' Browne of Steely & Clevie fame.
If you're into quality covers, this one's for you!