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Judge for JUNGLEJIM

kingston, Jamaica
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Portrait of JUNGLEJIM
Sean Johnson, a.k.a. 'Jungle Jim', was born into a musically oriented family and was nurtured in rhythm and melody at a time when music was lived and not simply taught. Life itself was a musical experience and his mother was the motivating force that steered him in the right direction. Being the youngest of four children, Jungle Jim can remember waking up every morning to see his older brother and sister seated at the piano practicing their scales and Mozart, Chopin or Hayden. Next to them was his mother, listening keenly with a no-mistake-must-be-made look on her face. At the time, Jungle Jim did not know that the world of music would soon be his fate too, nor that he would eventually attend the Jamaica School Of Music. While attending the Ardenne High School in Kingston, Jamaica, young Sean started honing his musical skills and was soon broadening his repertoire at Sugar Minott's famous 'Youthman Promotion' studio. This was his introduction to a recording career, that became under the management of Percy Chin and Hyman Wright of Jah Life Records. His solo debut album "Everything Is Everything" was released by Life Time Records for Jah Life Publishing 8 years ago, and did, despite the promise it contained, unfortunately not lead to cementing a position as a renown roots singer. His albums "Same Way" and the compilation (featuring Gregory Isaacs and Sugar Minott and Blade and Marlon Stewart also featured on the 'You Should Know'-riddim) "Rise" went unnoticed. Then suddenly last year his name popped up again as the producer of Junior Kelly's "Better Place" for his own Jungle JiMuzik Global imprint. And now an entire album of tunes on that brilliant acoustic (guitar) riddim, composed by Sean 'Jungle Jim' Johnson and laid with the help of Pablove Black ..boards, I-Paul Gauntlett's bass and drum programming, Mark Charlton's violins and Dean Frazer's brass section and arrangement of the beautiful angelic backing vocals by the 1st Eye, a.k.a. the Daffodils: Althea Hamilton, Connie Campbell and Sherida Sharpe, the 'You Should Know' a.k.a. 'Better Place'-riddim, is finally released. With a "Jungle JiMuzik"-intro by one of Jamaica's hottest juggling DJs, Bounty Killer protegé Foota Hype, followed by an excerpt of "Intro - Imperial Speech" by the Coptic Archbishop of Ethiopia from Haile Selassie's coronation, Jungle Jim contributes the first vocal of the album the (and that is meant as a compliment) Marley-esque title-track "You Should Know" why angry faces looking at you, of which Anthony B's you should know why "Angry Faces" looking at you can be regarded as the singjay version. It's Junior Kelly next with the heartfelt i'm looking for a "Better Place", but where these 4 tunes are brilliant, nothing in the world has prepared you for Danny English "Even A Dollar". I've heard (and reviewed) a lot of really great tunes in 2005, but no matter what will be released in the remainder of this year, this superb delivered and lyrically heartfelt slow spoken instead of DJed tune is my favorite of the year (even when it belongs in 2004): You see life A the greatest thing Ever given to man So you see your life You better cherish it You see if you wake up to-day with a dollar Give thanks ‘Cause you don’t know what tomorrow brings Don’t grudge you brother for what he has Seek your own……….Hear that……..hey When I go to my bed at night I have to give thanks and praises To see morning light And when I wake up In a the morning I have to give thanks to H.I.M. For my earthly blessing I trod with JAH not man He’s always in my songs Songs of peace and redemption Spreading across the nation ‘Cause we a burn down Satan Remember the five barley loaves And the two small fishes Feed the multitude people from cities The word is better than bridges Beware of snitches Heeey If a dollar you have my friend No bother Worry you head No need to cry When you can pray by your bed If is a dollar you have my friend Forever give thanks ‘Cause better is yet to come HEY What are you looting for What are you shooting for True a man start make money You go shoot him star Leave out the crew thing star Satisfy your self With a few things star What are you rooting for You need recouping star From badness you have to stay far Or else you gonna die on the tar If a dollar you have my friend No bother Worry you head No need to cry When you can pray by your bed If is a dollar you have my friend Forever give thanks ‘Cause better is yet to come Hey While them worshipping idols Them worship gold Money and diamonds Never take a second And think ‘bout the man And over all things H.I.M have dominion Oh! Mighty One Can you hear my cry So many times I’ve been denied Some need to purge And sanctify Them too bad mind and full of red eye A dollar you have my friend No bother Worry you head No need to cry When you can pray by your bed If is a dollar you have my friend Forever give thanks ‘Cause better is yet to come Give thanks for life You better live it right No need to fuss nor fight I trod with JAH not man He’s always in my songs Songs of peace and redemption Spreading across the nation ‘Cause we a burn down Satan Remember the five barley loaves And the two small fishes Feed the multitude people from cities The word is better than bridges Beware of snitches Heeey If a dollar you have my friend No bother Worry you head No need to cry When you can pray by your bed If is a dollar you have my friend Forever give thanks ‘Cause better is yet to come Another heartfelt tune is delivered by Gregory Isaacs, who has been waiting on his lady in her parking lot till it's "Almost 2 O'Clock". It's almost folky, and I've indeed heard a lot of people asking me while playing this album why I wasn't listening reggae, but it's pure, it's acoustic, and it grows on you even more every time you spin this album again. Former mentor Sugar Minott contributes the excellent and equally heartfelt "Bad, Bad Girl" and newcomer Marlon Stewart - son of veteran singer Roman Stewart and forming a duo once with Warrior King - delivers the beautiful ballad "I Apologize". Future & Destroyer (I've stopped wondering about Jamaican artists' monikers long ago) also convince with "Trying To Reach Me", and once more attention should be paid to the excellent job 1st Eye a.k.a. the Daffodils do on all these tunes. Danny English has another great tune on the riddim, and pay attention to his lyrics again on "It's All About". Veteran DJ (and in his - real name - Junior Brammer disguise singer & producer) Trinity delivers the old school DJ lovers tune vibe on his "You And Me" before I-Bar contributes a typical Jamaican kitsch tribute to his mother, followed by Tolerance's fine "Journey" and Blade's convincing "Badmind And Envy". The typical US rap approach of K.B. & Mello works out unexpectedly well on their "Babylon", before the small Tye interlude "Guba Click" propels us into the Jungle Jim acoustic guitar only "You Should Know (Acoustic Instrumental)" with its three-and-a-half minutes showcasing how hypnotizing the riff is, and the "You Should Know (Dub)" named clean version of the riddim. Pure magic, and the most slept-over acoustic riddim of the past 12 months, certainly deserving to be heard (and bought) by everyone now that it's released on CD.
 
 
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