Not many people can treat themselves with an album to celebrate their birthday. One who can is the celebrated and consistent UK singer and songwriter Lloyd Brown. He turned 50 in March and a few months later his 18 track album LB 50 was put out.
Lloyd Brown is one of the most productive singers in the industry and turns out at least one album each year. Last year he actually dropped two – New Veteran and Rootical. Both were critically acclaimed, with the Zion I Kings’ Rootical being slightly better with its spiritual messages and sparse arrangements.
LB 50 is Lloyd Brown’s 18th album and he has as usual invited several guest artists and has worked with a number of different producers, each with their own sound, which gives the album some versatility. It offers lots of reggae of course, but also a little bit of electro, dancehall and soul.
Lloyd Brown’s singing is always a joy and on LB 50 he is as comfortable and smooth as ever before. It sounds like he weighs every word and every syllable carefully before he sings them. His style is very well-crafted, easy-going and warm, and it’s impossible to him and songs like All About You, a rocksteady-tinged version of The Mighty Diamonds’ Country Living, the dense Million Dollar Baby, or the jazzy sound boy destroyer My Sound, with an introduction by David Rodigan.
Lloyd Brown has treated himself with an exceptional birthday gift, and this is yet another bright and harmonious set from one of most reliable artists in the reggae industry.
On UK veteran soul and reggae singer Lloyd Brown’s 16th studio album he presents a smorgasbord of vintage and modern urban reggae styles fused with vintage and contemporary soul and R&B.
Lloyd Brown is a traditional, confident and reliable singer, much like some of his contemporaries, including Glen Washington, Richie Stephens and Nerious Joseph. His featherlike, seductive and smooth singing is particularly well-suited for romancing ballads, but he is equally at home with both heavier and more up-tempo styles.
New Veteran is – just like some of his most recent output – released on his own imprint Riddimworks and based on the work from a number of different producers, including himself. And this makes New Veteran a bit non-cohesive, but that is not necessarily a bad thing since there isn’t a weak moment. The other day I actually listened to the album for three hours straight.
Lloyd Brown has always been fond of both covers and combinations and this 15 track set is no exception. He has invited veterans and newcomers alike coming from the reggae, dancehall, soul and hip-hop arenas, including soul diva Kele Le Roc, teenage dancehall sensation Shanti Force, Jamaican singjay Tanya Stephens, guitar virtuoso Junior Marvin, UK hip-hop artist Mystro, an excellent unknown soul singer called Mikie Blak and the the late Dennis Brown on a cover version of the Eagles’ mid 70s smash hit Lyin’ Eyes.
The album is currently only available on iTunes, a distribution tactic I’m not particularly fond of. The sound is a bit thin due to the hard compression and it’s better for the consumer to be able to choose their favorite platform instead of being obliged to use this poor outlet.