Album-Review: J Boog - Backyard Boogie
by Angus Taylor
It's easy to get confused about J Boog, it seems. Firstly it's easy to confuse his name with the rapper, also from California, called JBoog. Secondly, it's easy to get confused as to his background: often described as Hawaiian he is in fact of Samoan descent and simply resides in Hawaii. But there is nothing confusing about J Boog's music: it's immediate straight-from-the-heart stuff; soft R&B tinged roots and lovers vibes.
Following June's excellent self titled teaser EP, his second album - again on Hawaiian label Wash House Music and bearing some big singles as well as two tracks from the EP - is here. Don Corleon Major rhythm smash Let's Do It Again makes an unsurprising return while duet, with fellow Polynesian Fiji, Every Little Thing shows up as a bonus track.
Though he starts with the declaration that "Jah saved my life" on rootsy opener Give Thanks, lyrically speaking Boog is more about the good times. He loves girls (Take It Slow), ganja (the Taxi rhythmed Hawaiian Pakalolo) and gentle alcohol consumption (Mystery Girl). Naturally his lovers themes tread well worn paths (the metaphor-mixing Angel yields the amusing mental image of a knight making love tenderly while still in his shining armour). But this is more than made up for by the strength of the songs and Boog's distinctive smooth-yet-breaking-up-right-on-emotional-cue voice.
For his combination tunes he has gone for vocal similarity over contrast in his guests yet without any sense of overkill. There's Tarrus Riley on the militant drummed She Give Me Loving (one hopes they aren't talking about the same lady); Peetah Morgan on the pop ska of Sunshine Girl (both cuts are produced by Peetah's brother Gramps); and sweet voiced Swede Million Stylez on the catchy Replay.
Though one or two tracks (Sunshine Girl and Let's Do It Again) may cloy a little for fans of raw roots, this is a very strong album. Unlike recent long awaited efforts by Ray Darwin and Warrior King (which felt like compilations due to their sonic diversity) Back Yard Boogie - despite utilising different producers - feels unified from start to end. J Boog's impressive pipes, live instrument heavy rhythms and hummable songs make this a noteworthy release this year.
J Boog - Backyard Boogie
CD / DIGITAL RELEASE [Wash House Music]
Release date: 9/27/2011
01. Give Thanks
02. Watch and Learn feat. Jacob Hemphill
03. Hawaiian Pakalolo feat. Jah Maoli & Spawn Breezie
04. She Give Me Lovin' feat. Tarrus Riley
06. Sunshine Girl feat. Peetah Morgan
07. Let Me Know
08. Replay feat. Million Stylez
10. Let's Do It Again
11. Take It Slow
14. Waste of Time
15. Let It Blaze
16. Every Little Thing feat. Fiji*