Now & Forever
February 12, 2010
from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)|
|Vocals : 5||Backing : 5||Production : 5||Sound quality : 5||Sleeve : 4|
Sweet-voiced Kevin Anthony Jackson, better known as Sanchez, cut his first sides in the second half of 1987. Already at the beginning of the following year he managed to become the number one singer of love songs in
reggae music, underlined by the release of two fine albums : "Loneliness" and "Sweetest Girl". In a short
period of time Sanchez became extremely popular amongst the - mainly female - reggae fans and broke big in
the U.K. where every single release seemed to be a guarenteed chartbuster. The fans loved him, but there
were also many others who underrated his skill and talents because of him singing so many cover songs, which
actually resulted in the not so flattering title "King Of Cover". However, throughout his more than two
decades spanning career Sanchez has unmistakably made clear that he is also capable of delivering fine
self-penned songs, lovers songs as well as reality tunes such as the excellent "South Africa".|
Born on November 30, 1964 in Kingston, Jamaica and christened Kevin Anthony Jackson, Sanchez grew up with his mother, father, two brothers and two sisters, in the Stony Hill and Waterford communities under strong Christian principles getting his first singing practice like so many reggae artists in the church choir. Then he turned (once more like so many others) to performing (and selecting) on local and then bigger soundsystems, eventually resulting in a recording career. His wonderful oeuvre after more than 20 years ranges from soulful R&B to hardcore dancehall, conscious reggae and gospel. And for this "Now & Forever" album Sanchez - the singer named so as a very talented soccerplayer after Mexican soccer legend Hugo Sanchez - returns once more to the label on which he enjoyed some of biggest successes, VP Records and to a producer who produced some of his best tunes, Donovan Germain of Penthouse Records for one of his all-time best releases (and I am a big Sanchez fan rating even his cornier releases).
Most of the 14 (lovers) tracks are self-penned, collaborating with long-time touring and composing companion Fitz Livermore, guitarplayer of Sanchez' live-band Chronic and producer Donovan Germain. The album opens with "Won't Surrender" a tune undoubtedly going through Tiger Woods' head constantly (as it actually truly describes the phone-searching methods Mrs. Woods used as well) followed by the very smooth "Who Am I Without You" and the smashing "Longing To Come Home" riding Penthouse' huge 'Serve & Protect'-riddim and the fourth tune in a row that drummer, bassist, guitarist Bunny Anne Fletcher co-composed "I'm For Real". The next tune is a tribute to and penned by Otis Blackwell, who died May 6, 2002, the American songwriter who heavily influenced rock 'n' roll, composing Little Willie John's "Fever" (made famous by Peggy Lee), Jerry Lee Lewis' "Great Balls of Fire" and "Breathless", Elvis Presley's "Don't Be Cruel", "All Shook Up" and "Return to Sender" that he wrote together with Winfield Scott, with whom he also penned this "Feel Good All Over".
The only other cover featured on this set follows it immediately and it is the very upful take by Sanchez on "My Everything" originally done by Jacob 'Killer' Miller & Inner Circle's Roger & Ian Lewis. The remaining 8 lovers tunes on this album are superb showcases of smooth reggae songwriting, silky singing and topnotch riddims (for "When Someone Says I Love You" laid and composed by UK riddim wizards Mafia & Fluxy) maximizing your listening pleasure. The combination of swell arrangements, strong composed and played song and riddim material, and Sanchez' wicked voice make "Now & Forever" one of the best albums ever from what arguably still is reggae's top crooner. This is a unbelievably strong first artist-album of a series of releases scheduled from Penthouse's EME Award 2010 reggae producer of the year 2009 Donovan Germain for 2010 (Marcia Griffiths, Richie Spice, Romain Virgo, DaVille, Torch and Nikki Burt have already been confirmed), but even by that impressive line-up Sanchez' "Now & Forever" will be hard to top.