Album review
The Vivian Jones Songbook One
Vivian Jones
Imperial House

Tracking list

  1. Reggae Lover
  2. Jah Love I So
  3. Solid
  4. Jah See Dem A Come
  5. More
  6. Bring Back The Love
  7. Strong Love
  8. Ethiopian Eyes
  9. The Very Thought Of You
  10. The Hurt
  11. Strange But True
  12. Rain
  13. Can't Hide
  14. Moment Of Magic
  15. Sugar Love
  16. Time To Make Love
  17. Nu Chat To Me
  18. Mr. & Mrs. Lawrence
Rating : from 5 (excellent) to 1 (poor)

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

At the age of ten, Vivian Jones left Trewlaney, Jamaica, in 1967 to settle in England, where he was raised in the NW10 area of London. In 1977 he started singing "just for fun". He sang in various bands, his first being the Spartans, and began to write his own material. "Black, Gold & Green" - credited to V. Jones & Doctor Birds and released on John Rubie's "Freedom Sounds" label - was Vivian Jones' debut single. However, it's his solo effort and first hit tune "Good Morning" (released on the "Third World" label in 1980) which Vivian Jones himself considers his debut recording proper. Since more than two decades by now Vivian Jones has proved a consistent hit maker as well as a prolific songwriter and fine producer, whose all round musical abilities are fully displayed on an excellent compilation set entitled "The Vivian Jones Songbook One".
From beginning to end one is treated to memorable tunes from a singer who is respected by reggae connoisseurs and fans alike for his easy, relaxed vocal style. Vivian Jones is blessed with a very distinctive voice which enables him to add a striking kind of intimacy and warmth to his tunes. "The Vivian Jones Songbook One" is a captivating collection which features a fine mixture of catchy melodic lovers rock, roots and reality. Every single track included here is stamped with class and is truly a winner. Among them one finds several pieces that were No. 1 hits in the UK Reggae charts, namely "Strong Love", "Sugar Love", "The Hurt" and "Ethiopian Eyes". However, this set not only focusses on the well known chart toppers, but also treats one to almost forgotten gems and obscure titles like for example the Stingray produced "Reggae Lover" across Bob Marley's "Thank You Lord" riddim, the "Rastaman Vibration" cut "Jah Love I So", which he recorded in Jamaica with producer Barry O'Hare (in collaboration with Larry Lawrence), "Nu Chat To Me" and the moving tribute to the parents of the murdered London teenager Stephen Lawrence (featuring Carol Thompson, Peter Hunnigale, Nereus Joseph, Mike Anthony, Roger Robin, Tad Hunter and others).
If your collection lacks the works of Vivian Jones then "The Vivian Jones Songbook One" is probably a good introduction and the best way to get some of Vivian's biggest hits and finest efforts on one compilation. Highly recommended!

Teacher & Mr. T.