(Bent Backs Records)

I don’t bother with a lot of modern reggae. My preference has always been for the Jamaican output from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s. Other than classic 90s dancehall, I seldom venture further than labels associated to Studio One and Channel One. Call me small-minded, but that’s what I collect and that’s what makes my foot tap and my body rock and swing.

JonnyGo Figure is part of the modern roots/deejay movement, but his point of difference is the lack of auto-tune or vocal effects on his excellent voice, and selection of riddims which hark back to the era I love. Think Junjo and Scientist working with the Roots Radics, or the always identifiable sound of the Revolutionaries recorded at Channel One during the studio’s golden period.

On this four-track EP, Jonny toasts superbly over riddims laid down by the Green and Fresh Band at Blossom Room in Le Mans, France. Indeed, promo material for this EP specifically states its firm nod to 80s rub-a-dub. And Jonny – with familiar lyrical content on the beauty of collecting vinyl, militant Rastafari spirituality and sound – makes a good fist with a vocal style reminiscent of Linval Thompson, Michael Campbell, Hugh Mundell and a lengthy list of vocalists who cut tracks for the greats of the 1980s. As such, this EP is more likely to appeal to the 70s/80s dub heads rather than reggae’s millennial generation fans or casual reggae consumers who want songs about sunshine and road trips.

All up, a very tidy EP from an artist with a point of difference in the modern reggae scene. An accompanying EP of strictly dubs, with added dub tomfoolery, for these riddims would definitely be worth exploring.

More info:
Crucial Showcase on Bandcamp
JonnyGo Figure Facebook

Jeff Neems