Album review
Reggae Country II
J.C. Lodge
Charm-Jet Star
December 27, 2004

Tracking list

  1. Forever & Always
  2. Islands In The Stream feat. Don Campbell
  3. Nothing On But The Radio
  4. Someone Loves You Honey (Remix)
  5. Breathe
  6. The First Cut
  7. Let's Make Love
  8. You Should've Lied
  9. Love Hurts
  10. I Can't Wait
  11. Playtime
  12. For Ever & Ever Amen
  13. Lost In You
  14. Breakfast In Bed
  15. A Little Love
  16. Love Me Tender
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

Vocals : 4/5 Backing : 4 Production : 4 Sound quality : 5 Sleeve : 3/4

British born to a Jamaican father and English mother, J.C. Lodge was taken to Jamaica as a child. There, she soon became immersed in R&B and reggae, and sang along to everything she heard. She was encouraged to perform in her high school concerts by classmates, and enjoyed doing so, but felt her career lay either in art or drama. A relationship with Errol O'Meally toward the end of high school, however, led her further along the music path. He was a budding songwriter, and used her voice to present some of his material to Joe Gibbs' Recording Studio. Both the songs and the singer were well received, and J.C. was asked to cover "Someone Loves You Honey" in 1980. The reggae-country & western tune topped the Jamaican charts worldwide, and earned the singer gold and platinum discs in the Netherlands. Such success convinced J.C. that music should be her main direction. Nine albums followed, consisting mostly of reggae, but some with R&B and pop material too, usually written by O'Meally or J.C. Producers like Joe Gibbs, Willie Lindo, Gussie Clarke, Errol O'Meally and Neil Fraser (a.k.a. Mad Professor), created product which garnered for J.C. several hits and prestigious awards across the world. "Telephone Love", recorded for Gussie Clarke in 1988, was the first dancehall reggae track to cross over in the R&B and hip-hop markets in the United States, topping the urban charts in New York and other cities. This led to an album deal with hip-hop label Tommy Boy Records and the "Tropic Of Love" album featuring the hit R&B single "Home Is Where The Hurt Is". With O'Meally's influence and the creative opportunities of so many albums, J.C.'s songwriting skill was unearthed and polished. Several Jamaican artistes have sung her original compositions, and she continues to work toward having overseas artists do likewise. Her varied influences are expressed in both her writing and performances, and she is comfortable in several genres, whether it be reggae, jazz, pop, R&B or country and western. Late 2001 she relocated to the UK to further her career in Europe and released her debut album for Jet Star Records entitled, "Reggae Country", in 2002. It was with this album that J.C. Lodge established herself as the foremost exponent of reggae music with a country swing. Two years later and one of reggae's most enduring female vocalists is back with the follow-up set, "Reggae Country II". As with its predecessor, the album was produced in Jet Star's own Cave studios and features the production talents of Danny Ray alongside the incomparable musicianship of The A Team, a band that consists of some of the best UK reggae musicians including Mafia and Fluxy (drum & bass), Carlton "Bubblers" Ogilvie (keyboards) and Darren "King Kash" Davidson (lead & rhythm guitar). Music lovers that are familiar with country music will recognize anthem after anthem of classic country performed in fine 'reggae country' style. After the solid album opener Forever & Always, Don Campbell joins J.C. to deliver a decent version of "Islands In the Stream", made famous by Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. Other tracks worth of hearing are Gary Allan's "Nothing On But the Radio", the seductive version of Lorna Bennett's "Breakfast In Bed", the much covered "Love Hurts", "Play Time", "Let's Make Love", "A Little Love" and a well done version of the Elvis classic "Love Me Tender".
"Reggae Country II" is a solid album that will appeal to the mature listener.

Teacher & Mr. T.