Album Review: Mr. Vegas - Lovers Rock And Soul
Covering Pop or R’n’B classics, especially love songs, and turning them into Reggae hits has a long history in Jamaican music. Who does not want to sway and smile broadly, when Terry Linen's version of My Love Is Your Love or Johnny Osbourne's interpretation of The Delfonics 1968 Ready Or Not Here I Come sound off the speakers?
Now Mr. Vegas took on the challenge and added his contribution to the art of „Reggae-lizing“ songs from originally foreign genres not just with a single but an entire album to “help retrieve Reggae’s status within the international market”. Lovers Rock And Soul is a timeless piece shining both with its selection of 11 excellent songs and the new musical arrangement inna Jamaican style. The latter is surely due to the impressive set of musicians that made their way to the studio for this recording including greats such as Roots Radics’ Flabba Holt, Dean Fraser, Donald “Danny Bassie” Dennis of Firehouse Crew and Protoje’s Indiggnation, Kirk “Kirkle Dove” Bennett, Lamont “Monty” Savory, C-Sharp member Aeion Hoilett, Wade Johnson, as well as Danny Browne, and his brother Cleveland „Clevie“, who is also credited as co-producer. Together they created the soulful foundation for Mr. Vegas to crown with his vocal talent.
While some songs like Savage Garden’s 90s smash hit Truly Madly Deeply unfold their magic right with the first unmistakable chords and stick close to the original, others were given more space for lyrical and musical reinterpretation. Unlike Ed Sheeran, who limits his love to the age of 70, Mr. Vegas’ feelings will endure “’til eternity” as he promises in the Rub A Dub version of Thinking Out Loud, the first single off the album that rocks to the bone on the Love Bump riddim (yes, that very same instrumental that the romantic listeners already digged so much, when fellow crooner Sanchez topped it with Missing You). The natural upliftment and groove carried through Reggae music is surely something most of the covers benefit from, like Wet Wet Wet’s Love Is All Around that is now a lot more upbeat and even perky when Mr. Vegas enters the bridge with an enthusiastic “Gotta keep it moving!”. A special gem is the following Someone To Love, originally performed by Jon B. and Babyface. As his counterpart Vegas invited the magnificent talent Natel, who should still get much more attention as he is truly a strong and ever touching vocalist. Backed by a sweet choir the two singers deliver not someone but a cover tune to love with goose bumps guaranteed. It might only be topped by When You Say Nothing At All, that has always, weather sang by former Boyzone member Ronan Keating, the ever so gentle Alison Krauss or its original interpreter Country singer Keith Whitley, impressed its listeners with the catchy melody and charming lyrics, and has not lost any of its power up until today as Vegas presents his version. Interestingly even an original Reggae song was added to the track list with Alton Ellis’ Girl I’ve Got A Date, that is highlighted by an extensive saxophone solo by Dean Fraser. The former rather emotional Lady In Red by Chris De Burgh gets a cheeky subtext when Vegas teases his desired female with a bold “hey sexy red dress lady” – impish grin should be allowed, is maybe even intended.
The artist’s aim “to create a larger audience” for himself and also Reggae music by recreating popular evergreens from other genres is a smart move, that should surely be crowned with success, as Lovers Rock and Soul is a great record not just for lovers but simply any fan of amazing sing-alongs.
Mr. Vegas - Lovers Rock And Soul
CD / DIGITAL RELEASE [MV Music]
Release date: 10/30/2015
01. Thinking Out Loud
02. There’s Nothing Better Than Love
03. Love Is All Around
04. Someone To Love feat. Natel
05. Time After Time
06. When You Say Nothing At All
07. To Really Love A Woman
08. Girl I’ve Got A Date
09. Lady In Red
10. Truly Madly Deeply
11. Say Amen