Album review
Real Love
Spanner Banner

Tracking list

  1. Better Must Come
  2. Soldier Girl
  3. A Little Love featuring Chaka Demus & Pliers
  4. Fire featuring Tanya Stephens
  5. Real Love featuring Betty Wright
  6. Sweet Pain featuring Lady Saw
  7. Missing Persons Bureau
  8. Life Goes On (New Millennium Version)
  9. Revelation featuring Prezident Brown & Yankee B
  10. Man A Earth Man featuring Richie Spice
  11. Who God Bless
  12. Ladies Man featuring Sean Paul
  13. Here Comes The Rain
  14. Give Love
  15. I've Been Waiting featuring Elephant Man & Harry Toddler
  16. Revelation Part 2 featuring Madame Dragon & Yankee B
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

Spanner Banner - real name Joseph Bonner - is from the musically rich Bonner family as his brothers Pliers (of the renown duo Chaka Demus & Pliers) and more recently Richie Spice have had their successes. Both brothers team up with him on this brandnew album alongside current dancehall stars like Lady Saw, Prezident Brown and Sean Paul, to name a few. Furthermore such ace Jamaican producers as Sly & Robbie, Clive Hunt, Steven Ventura, Delon Reid and Jeremy Harding as well as top American producers like Scott Kinchen and Afrika from the Jungle Brothers have been involved in this project, which - all together - indicates a topnotch production from the very first start. And indeed, the production quality is excellent, the contributions from the musicians faultless and the vocal deliveries from Spanner Banner and his guest vocalists solid to excellent. However, most of the tunes included on this album are intended to reach a very broad audience, which makes that this isn't exactly a set that will appeal to the hardcore reggae and or dancehall fan.
The album opener, "Better Must Come" (a cover of the classic Delroy Wilson tune and Spanner Banner's tribute to one of Jamaica's greatest singers), fully showcases the singer's polished voice, and the same goes for his self-penned "Soldier Girl". Then two covers, with Bruce Springsteen's "Fire" being a real weak tune, despite the fact that Steven Ventura of "King Of Kings" has tried to give it a nice dancehall vibe. The album's title track is a solid lovers tune, which is followed by the nice, R&B flavoured combination tune "Sweet Pain". The Womack-Womack-Womack written "Missing Persons Bureau" gets a nice rendition and is guaranteed dancefloor filler. With "Life Goes On" revisits his first Jamaican hit for producer Winston Riley in a sort of unplugged fashion. Then the mood changes with the very infectious "Revelation", which is inspired from Soul II Soul's "Our Time Has Come Now". The combination with Prezident Brown and New York-based deejay Yankee B works surprisingly well, making this tune one of the best on the album. Another great tune is the Star Trail produced rootsy piece "Man A Man Earth", which brings together the Bonner brothers Spanner Banner and Richie Spice. Also "Who God Bless", another self-penned tune, is a solid cutural piece. Next two weak to mediocre tunes drop in, first "Ladies Man" inspired from Kool & The Gang's "Ladies Night" and then a cover of the Eurythmics' pop hit "Here Comes The Rain". The "Pick Out" produced "Give Love" brings back the Jamaican vibe and is well worth spinning as goes for the dancehall cut "I've Been Waiting". The album rounds off with "Revelation Part 2", which once again underlines the mainstream intentions.
It's obvious that Spanner Banner's seventh album "Real Love" takes this singer to the next stage in his musical career. Regarding the kind of tunes and musical styles featured on this set - actually a blend of dancehall, lovers rock and R&B - Spanner Banner is unambiguously going for cross-over success.

Teacher & Mr. T.