Taking cues from the vintage era of roots reggae, Jus Goodie manages to channel the soulful sounds of the heyday of reggae and ska into a tight little six song EP.
It only took the first thirty seconds of “Reggae Rock” to reel me in hook, line and sinker…with the powerful guitar riff fading into the steel drum sound. “Hit Or Miss”, the first track on the EP, has a musical force that demands attention. Top that off with Jus Goodie’s soft and soulful voice and you have yourself an instant soulful reggae track with a hint of R&B sprinkled in.
The next track is the title track and it’s a fairly straightforward classic-sounding reggae track which also happens to feature a guest appearance from masterful producer and reggae artist himself E.N. Young. Mr. Young also mixed, mastered and produced this amazing sounding EP. Right smack dab in the middle of “Reggae Rock” is my favorite tune, “Judge and Jury”, a horn-heavy ska track that just screams to be danced to but also has a strong message of equality throughout it.
The fourth track on “Reggae Rock” titled “In A Heartbeat (I’ll Run) is a song that is very reminiscent of the stripped down vocal-heavy pop reggae of the 80’s. I’m reminded of Inner Circle while listening to it. Following up “In A Heartbeat” is “Way Back”, a song that focuses more on soul and R&B with strong vocals that tell the tale of a yearning for a lost lover that is so close yet so far away. Closing things out is a reggae tradition…a dub version of one or two songs at times. “Hit Or Miss” receives the honor, pulling the curtain down on a wonderful roots reggae album that manages to pull influences from a lot of reggae music’s original influences.
“Reggae Rock” manages to pull from many various genres much as reggae and, even earlier than that, ska did with heavy influences coming from outside of Jamaica such as soul, Motown and rhythm & blues. While this has been done for decades now, hearing the vocal range of Jus Goodie and combining that with excellent songwriting and musical talent of him and his band, “Reggae Rock”, this album sounds like a breath of fresh air and something that would have taken the island by storm back in a different era.
Bottom Line: “Reggae Rock” is not just a reggae album. Influences such as ska, soul and R&B have this EP sounding fresh yet vintage all at the same time.
Notable Tracks: Hit Or Miss, Judge And Jury, Reggae Rock