Junior Natural – Militant
Title: Junior Natural – Militant
Label: Taxi / Tabou1 | Format: LP-DR | Street date: October 13, 2017 | Website: Taxi / Tabou1
- The Truth
- For Everyone
- Some of Them
- Freedom Time
- Like This
- Jah Light
- Beautiful Creation
This brand new album release on Sly & Robbie’s Taxi label is remarkable in a few ways.
First of all there’s Junior Natural. The young conscious singer from Uppsala, Sweden took his first steps in music at the age of 8 and released his debut single “Number 1 Girl” when he was 12 years old. Mastered by Bob Marley’s former Jamaican label Tuff Gong, he dedicated this love song to his mother. Later on he recorded “One In A Million”, produced by Shaggy’s manager, producer and partner Robert Livingstone, which was followed by a few other singles including “Fallback” and “Better Must Come”. The year 2013 saw the then 18-year old-singer come up with two EPs : “Reveal” and “Everlasting”.
And secondly, when he went to Kingston, Jamaica, he almost immediately drew attention in the local scene. There he met the legendary Robbie Shakespeare, who auditioned him the old-school way: in a parking lot, giving him one chance and one minute. The young singer blew Robbie away: “Come back with 12 songs and we’ll take care of you” was all he told Junior Natural. The rest is history.
And then there’s the third notable fact. Since they started running their own business in the late 1970s, it hasn’t happened that often that Sly & Robbie successfully launched an upcoming artist. The latter needs to have huge potential before they even start crafting a brand new, yet unmistakably Taxi sound for him. As most reggae fans will know it were in particular Ini Kamoze and Michael Rose (with Black Uhuru) who achieved a giant breakthrough under the watchful guidance of the riddim twins. Time will tell whether Junior Natural’s name can be added, but anyone who listens to his “Militant” LP will have to admit that this isn’t totally impossible.
“Soldiers” (“I am one of Jah Jah soldiers, come to break dem barriers”), with Sly Dunbar’s militant drumming style and Robbie’s driving bass play, is the perfect choice to set the tone for this “Militant” album. On the solid opener as well as on the tracks that follow, Junior Natural displays maturity in his vocal style and lyrical content. And let’s not forget to give credit to Steven Stanley, one of Jamaica’s finest sound engineers, who blends King Tubby’s old-skool Dub techniques with the latest modern tricks to full effect. Among the tracks that pack a punch are “The Truth”, “Some Of Them”, the acoustic “Beautiful Creation” (with Earl ‘Chinna’ Smith on guitar), and the spiritual “Jah Light”. However the highlights are the exceptional “Freedom Time” and the impressive message tune “Like This”. [Note: The digital release has two more tracks: “Everlasting” and “Close To You”]