STIR IT UP – THE ANTHOLOGY 1965-1979 Johnny Nash
This is a welcome release, the first decent anthology of the excellent Johnny Nash, 2CD’s 46 tracks in pristine remastered sound. Annoyingly these days if you hear any JN on the radio its 9 out of 10 times going to be ‘I Can See Clearly Now’, I’m sure all the programme controllers are all about 15! Anyway, Houston born Johnnys career goes back to the late 50’s, but as the title of this compilation says we kick off here in 1965 with the opening track ‘Lets Move And Groove Together, a deep soul outing that would sit perfectly on an Otis Redding album showcasing Johnnys soulful vocal prowess. However after visiting Jamaica it was his fusing of soul and reggae that was to bring him to international recognition. 1968’s ‘You Got Soul’ is a personal favourite and a perfect example. As I said earlier radio sticks with ICSCN, but remember ‘Hold Me Tight’ ‘Cupid’ (best cover of a Sam Cooke song), ‘Stir It Up’, ‘There Are More Questions Than Answers’, ‘Tears On My Pillow’ ‘Dream Lover’? all great single hits. Lets not forget that ‘Stir It Up’ these days probably linked indelibly with Bob Marley was first recorded by Johnny and it was Johnny who took the struggling songwriter to London and the rest was history for Bob. Johnnys own songwriting, producing, arranging, playing talents are far ranging, read the excellent sleevenotes that accompany this set quite incredible. As well as the hits already mentioned there are great covers to enjoy ‘Groovin’ (originally Young Rascals) is a stellar example. There are also tracks released for the first time from two later 70’s albums ‘What A Wonderful World’ and ‘Lets Go Dancing’.
Although these days no longer active musically since basically ‘retiring’ in 1988 Johhny is still successful in other activities. I saw him perform live back in the 70’s along with the late Desmond Dekker and I’m so glad I did. His legacy of recorded music and his contribution to the global awareness(along with DD I might add) of Jamaican reggae cannot be overstated. On a sunny day like today as I write these words Johnny just adds to that sunshine. To sum up a great, and in my opinion, essential compilation to grace your collection.
For more information go to https://www.cherryred.co.uk
Happy Easter to all, til next time…..