Versatile dancehall star Mr. Vegas has broadened his portfolio in recent years – from hardcore dancehall via foundation reggae to slick lovers rock. It started in 2010 with the massive reggae anthem Sweet Jamaica, which was later followed by a double album by the same name.
That double disc was Mr. Vegas’ first shot at recording classic reggae and he did it very well. It was well-received and boasted several covers of non-reggae tracks. And Mr. Vegas obviously got a taste for recording covers. Because now he has a new album with only cover songs of which a majority are non-reggae originals. They are rather pop and R&B evergreens.
Most of the songs picked for Lovers Rock and Soul have been covered countless times before, including Savage Garden’s Truly Madly Deeply, Wet Wet Wet’s Love is All Around, Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time and former Boyzone member Ronan Keating’s When You Say Nothing At All.
The album offers just what its title suggests – songs about romance, relationships and love. Unfortunately the album is just a bit too smooth and too slick. The cuts are ordinary hotel lounge covers with a reggae beat and nothing to get particularly excited about.
Mr. Vegas is a gifted singer and a talented artist and he can do way better than this. That was shown on the Sweet Jamaica album.
Talented dancehall deejay and label owner Mr. Vegas has been productive in recent years. In 2012 he dropped the acclaimed reggae-fused double disc Sweet Jamaica and last year he released the more dancehall-oriented Bruk it Down 2.0.
Now it’s time for a new album. His sixth to date. It’s called Reggae Euphoria and hits the streets on September 23.
Mr. Vegas has been in the music business for nearly 20 years and is best known for his energetic dancehall hits, but Reggae Euphoria is in a press release said to highlight a different style, just as the aforementioned Sweet Jamaica did when it came out.
The upcoming set collects 15 tracks and is expected to include a broad mix of genres. The greater portion is said to be reggae, but Mr. Vegas also ventures into dancehall, hip-hop, R&B, comedy (!) and gospel. It certainly sounds like another Sweet Jamaica.
Dancehall superstar Mr. Vegas is on a mission and wants to save foundation reggae music. He has started a petition and his upcoming double album Sweet Jamaica is a tribute to reggae from the 60’s and 70’s.
I got a chat with him in mid January after his rehearsals for the Shaggy & Friends benefit concert in Jamaica. He stresses that he doesn’t want to be seen as a savior and reveals his respect for legendary vocalist Toots Hibbert. Check the full story over at United Reggae.
Many reggae and dancehall fans were probably struck by surprise in late November last year when international dancehall star and MOBO award-winner Mr. Vegas started the Save Foundation Reggae Music petition with the words “reggae music is dying, it’s being replaced on our airwaves by hip-hop sounding beats.”
As a long-time fan of 60’s and 70’s reggae I celebrate this initiative, but was nonetheless also surprised.
Mr. Vegas then decided to take things a step further and announced the release of his first reggae album – a celebration of Jamaica’s 50 years of independence. However, he soon realized that his dancehall fans might be disappointed. So in order to satisfy all tastes he decided to drop a double album instead – one aimed for one drop reggae enthusiasts and one for his dancehall followers.
Sweet Jamaica was the first single off the album, put out in late 2010. The new album is aptly titled after that particular tune.
The double album boasts a juicy 32 tracks – 16 flavored in foundation style with hints of ska, lovers rock, early reggae and rocksteady as well as another 16 tunes branded by his usual energetic dancehall style.
The majority of the reggae tracks are new acquaintances with a mix of fresh originals, versions and straight covers, while the dancehall album contains several of his recent dancehall bangers, including Bruk it Down, Whine for Me Baby, Certain Law and Beautiful Life. However, the brightest shining light on the dancehall disc is Let the Music Play where Mr. Vegas puts on a UK old school MC:ing style reminiscent of Tippa Irie or Papa Levi.
Sweet Jamaica is a broad effort that aims to satisfy a wide range of reggae fans. And even though some of the reggae covers could have been left out, this album certainly showcases a vast genre and a gifted and versatile artist.
Singjayn Anthony B blir en av de första artisterna att släppa en låt om det pågående våldet på Jamaica. Färska Sweet Jamaica är vädjan om fred och sammanhållning på ön. Det skriver United Reggae.
Låten är hämtad från hans kommande platta Rasta Ambassador och finns under en begränsad tid tillgänglig som fri nedladdning.
Sweet Jamaica är gungande sommarreggae och Anthony B är i hyfsat fin form.