(4 / 5)
Double-CD set by soul/pop and reggae icon, Johnny Nash covering close 15 years of recordings. This first-of-its-kind collection includes all of Johnny’s US and UK Epic singles, prime album cuts, recordings from the mid-to-late ‘60s and several tracks from two albums, 1977’s “What A Wonderful World” and 1979’s “Let’s Go Dancing”, never issued on CD before.
The Houston-born singer/songwriter, musician, arranger and producer began his career as a teenage recording artist with a Top 30 pop hit in 1957, and signing with major labels before forming his own labels JoDA and later JAD Records with then-manager Danny Sims.
Johnny became a chart fixture starting with “Let’s Move And Groove (Together)” in 1965, enjoying success in the US and UK after a promotional visit to Jamaica resulted in his first recordings there -(notably “Hold Me Tight” and “Cupid”.
Justifiably considered a pioneer by fusing soul and reggae, and bringing the much-loved Jamaican art form to mainstream US audiences, Johnny’s association with Epic Records started with his version of “Stir It Up”, written by a then-fledgling Bob Marley – who Johnny introduced to manager Sims and with whom he worked in London in the early ‘70s.
Also represented here with four further compositions including “Reggae On Broadway” and “Guava Jelly”; the bulk of the original material contained in this set was produced and written by Nash himself.
This anthology, with re-mastering by Nick Robbins, includes the classic “I Can See Clearly Now,” the 1975 UK number one single “Tears On My Pillow” and the final 1979 productions by the late Van McCoy, with a rare dancefloor mix of “Closer.”
In addition, we have Johnny’s reggae-flavoured covers of timeless tunes such as “(What A) Wonderful World,” Bobby Darin’s “Dream Lover” and The Everly Brothers’ “All I Have To Do Is Dream”. 24 tracks on the first disc, “I Can See Clearly Now”, and 22 on the second, “Tears On My Pillow”.
By Sally Fox
(2 / 5) ‘OK Zone’
(3 / 5) ‘Decent Zone’
(4 / 5) ‘Super Zone’
(5 / 5) ‘Awesome Zone’