A number of years ago I discovered the talented Jamaican singer J.O.E (Jah Ova Evil), but he was soon tragically lost after suffering a ruptured cerebral aneurysm. He died in 2011 only 24 years old.
During his much too short lifetime he recorded several great songs and the brightest shining light being his Rasta Chant on Rashawn “Bassie” Clark’s melancholic Nyabinghi riddim. But he did other strong tracks as well, and some of them were featured on his posthumously released debut album Man From Judah.
Yet another superb track has now however surfaced. Belly of the Beast is opening track on a new compilation titled Forever Judah, a 14 track set produced by Slovakian label Batelier Records. This conscious and roots rocking set is dedicated to J.O.E and features six artists from a group that was formed around J.O.E.
None of these singers are particularly well-known, but they all shine on Forever Judah. His younger twin brothers – The Gideon and Selah – contributes and so does D’Excel, Jahwawah, Hempress Sativa and Nicole Miller. Best of the bunch is The Gideon’s pulsating Roots Rock, D’Excel’s tongue twisting Uncivil Unrest and Jahwawah’s beautiful and devout Your King is On the Way.
A ton of reggae and dancehall is issued every week and there’s hard to keep up with every release. And since there are almost only rising hopefuls on Forever Judah I would probably never have listened to it unless the talented J.O.E had been featured on the set. Now I’m glad I gave it a chance.