Red Pond
Junior Kelly
VP Records
April 2, 2010

Junior Kelly & Queen Ifrica Track list
  1. Celebrate Life
  2. Nuthin' Wrong With The World
  3. My African Child
  4. She's Gone feat. Lukie D
  5. Murderer
  6. Waan Lef' De Ghetto
  7. Stumbling Blocks
  8. How Better Ah Go Home
  9. Believe In Yourself
  10. Slackness
  11. Real Love
  12. Papa's Song feat. Ras Shiloh
  13. Too Late feat. Queen Ifrica
  14. Treacherous Waters
  15. One Bright Day
Rate this album!
Cast your vote below.

Essential -Votes: 26-
Very Good -Votes: 10-
Good -Votes: 8-
Average -Votes: 2-
Disappointing -Votes: 0-
A Waste Of Time -Votes: 1-

Total votes : 47
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)
Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 5 Production : 5 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 4
After having made his recording debut in the second half of the 1980s for Eddie and Wille Dawson's Front Page label, and then -- after a hiatus of about 10 years -- again recording a handful of tunes for the Front Page imprint in 1995 without notable success, it was his 1999 released ground-breaking single "Love So Nice", that marked the start of the most prolific period in Junior Kelly's musical career so far. In the first 5 years of the new millennium he recorded singles for a range of producers including Bobby 'Digital' Dixon, 'Bulby' & 'Fatta' of Fat Eyes, Firehouse Crew, and Jimmy Riley, and dropped some eight full length albums including "Rise", "Juvenile", "Love So Nice", "Bless", Smile", "Conscious Voice", "Creation" and "Tough Life". Apart from an occasional single release and regular live performances it not much was heard from Junior Kelly in the second half of the decade.

And now there's "Red Pond" (an album which more or less comes out of the blue), Junior Kelly's fourth album for VP Records and the follow up to his 2005 released "Tough life" set. "Red Pond" -- an album title that refers to the nickname of his community in St Catherine JA -- features 15 mostly brand new tracks, with the majority of the production works done by the famous Firehouse Crew, probably best known from their association with Sizzla. After having given this album several spins, one can only draw the conclusion that the long wait has been truly worthwhile 'cause "Red Pond" is Junior Kelly's best effort yet. Again, and in our opinion even more than before, he shows that he simply has the lyrics, sounds and power to create a strong album.

Just like his previous albums, this one has songs that deal with life and love, each and everyone delivered with an irresistible passion. Things get started in a decent way with the up-tempo track "Celebrate Life", which is followed by "Nuthin' Wrong With The World", one of the standout tracks. The passionate and solid "My African Child", in which Junior Kelly professes his unconditional love and the joy that is brought on by his queen, is the first single taken from this album. A real great opening of the album, which unfortunately isn't exactly continued by the combination tune with Lukie D, the R&B flavoured "She's Gone". It isn't a bad tune at all, but its cross-over sound simply doesn't fit the mood of the album. Luckily Junior Kelly returns to the foundation with the dancehall vibed "Murderer", which is delivered across a relick of the "Heavenless" riddim. However it's the brilliant "Waan Lef' De Ghetto", in which Junior Kelly expresses his torn feelings of wanting to stay in the neighbourhood that he knows and loves but at the same time the conditions that make him want to leave and strive for a better life elsewhere, along with the equally strong "Stumbling Blocks" and also the wicked "How Better Ah Go Come" over a deadly remake of Augustus Pablo's "Java" riddim, that tie in with the three opening tunes.

Also the second part of the cd has a bunch of tunes worth hearing. Due to the backing solely consisting of an acoustic guitar and horns, the uplifting "Believe In Yourself" comes with a different but altogether real nice vibe. "Slackness" is a bouncing Ska piece in which Junior Kelly explores why folks turn into a slack state of mind. The obligatory acoustic tune "Real Love" is a nice effort, albeit not one that hits home. Next up are two great combination tunes, "Papa's Song" with Ras Shiloh and "Too Late" with Queen Ifrica. The latter, a great lovers tune produced by Anthony Senior for Al.Ta.Fa.An Records, has been a chart topper in 2009. The haunting "Treacherous Waters" is a very good tune, followed by the final track on this album, the outstanding "One Bright Day" over an 'updated' version of Firehouse Crew's "Mount Jerusalem" riddim, which we know from Jah Cure's "Chant Rastaman", Capleton's "Rising Up", Anthony B's "Lava" and Sizzla's "Like Mountain".

A very convincing return from the bearded singjay, who not only keeps things strictly conscious but also proves to be one of the most consistent modern roots artists.