JoJo Gladstone – JOJO

by Jan 31, 2018Artist, Reviews

JoJo Gladstone - JOJO
JoJo Gladstone

Release Info

JoJo Gladstone – JOJO

Label:  Holliwood Records | Format:  CD-DR | Street date: September 29, 2017 | Facebook Artist

Tracks

  1. Judge Them Judge
  2. Only Jah Love
  3. Glad That I Found You
  4. Original Lover
  5. Murder
  6. Raving
  7. Welfare People
  8. Slow Dancing
  9. Love We A Deal With
  10. True Character
JoJo Gladstone

“JOJO” is the debut-album of Dutch singer and pianist Jouke Yspeerd p.k.a. JoJo GLADSTONE. His stagename is a clean tribute to the late Gladstone ‘Gladdy’ Anderson and this album is filled with tunes heavily if not solely inspired by that pianist and especially the riddims recorded by him in the early 80s as member of the Roots Radics at Channel One. Trying to recreate a style of reggae that nowadays sometimes seems almost forgotten, JoJo GLADSTONE succeeded in exactly capturing those vibes.

Soul Proff All Stars Squad

JoJo is backed by the Soul Proff All Stars Squad, a band of which the nucleus is formed by fellow Dutchmen from Twente, Roots Creation members Pim Kokkeler on guitar, Wouter ‘Redsteppa’ Slegt on bass and their singer Aron ‘Jah Bird’ Tekle as percussionist with Leo Eppink on organ and Belgium Asham Band drummer Wim ‘Radics’ Verbruggen on drums. And they, together with additional musicians on horns and guitar and aided by the flawless mix of Frenchman Sébastien ‘West Finga’ Bizeray, make these 10 original riddims, all self-penned and arranged by JoJo, sound like these are relicks of oldschool Roots Radics riddims.

Lyrics

The lyrics are more than convincing as well, not just because of JoJo’s songwriting capacities yet also as a result of the ‘Gentleman/Daddy Rings-construction’ that wisely has been chosen, resulting in songs that sound authentically ‘English’ rather than translated from Dutch. In this case veteran singer Earl Cunningham, also the main vocal inspiration for JoJo GLADSTONE and veteran producer (and these days also DJ, riding the ‘Judge Them Judge’-riddim for his own surprise hit in Florida “Every Morning That I Rise”) Trevor Elliott a.k.a. The Musical Ambassador have been extremely helpful in improving the quality of (the English in) the lyrics.

JOJO

The album opens with the both lyrically and musically very strong reality plea “Judge Them Judge” followed by the equally convincing tune praising “Only Jah Love”. I still can’t believe after the intro of the third song “Glad That I Found You” somebody else’s voice kicks in than the voice of the late Cool Ruler Gregory Isaacs. Had he still been alive what a pleasure it would have been to hear him over this riddim track that seems customized for him. The Earl Cunningham styled approach by JoJo GLADSTONE over the riddim works perfectly as well though, resulting in my favourite tune of the album.

It’s followed by another favourite tune of mine, a song that grows on you with every spin you give it, the lovers roots “Original Lover” and then “Murder”, a tune that will be guaranteed to win over those listeners most sceptical of “white European reggae”, lyrically and musically possessing superb quality. “Raving” is a wonderful dancing tune, One of JoJo GLADSTONE’s personal favourites before in “Welfare People” the album continues with a truly heartfelt sufferer’s tune, lyrically strong again, standing out though through the moving delivery of those lyrics.

The great “Slow Dancing”, fine “Love We A Deal With” and excellent “True Character” close this more than convincing debut album “JOJO” by JoJo Gladstone, though getting to the end of the album I had been taken by the feeling the album could have been stronger. After multiple listening sessions I realized the album would have benefited from the inclusion of 2 or 3 just a bit more uptempo songs. “JOJO” however is an album that can and should be enjoyed every time you are – and you should be – listening to it from beginning to end, no need to search for the skip-button at any moment while doing so. Highly recommended!