Junior Kelly is a mature reggae artist with great confidence. That’s clear when listening to his latest full-length set Urban Poet. This album is an album firmly rooted in old school soul and its sound is described by Junior Kelly himself as Motown Reggae. And that’s a telling description. It’s positive, vibrant and joyous from beginning to end and it sounds like Junior Kelly had a great time recording it together with Austria’s Irievibrations Records.
He has had artistic freedom when making the album and he’s obviously a fan of 60s and 70s soul and funk. Just listen to cuts like the infectious Mile In My Shoes, the insanely funky Hooked On Mary with its lovely guitar lick and To Get By with its pulsating disco bass line.
But fans of classic Junior Kelly won’t be disappointed. There’s plenty of reggae included as well. Both Power To the People and Put It Pon Me is excellent contemporary rootsy reggae.
Press releases from labels always tend to exaggerate and I rarely agree with the great amount of superlatives used to describe the artist and the music. But when reading about Urban Poet I must agree. This album collects “incredible live riddims, exciting musicianship and vocal artistry at its best” and is a “masterpiece”.