"Modern Rockers Vol. 1" by Joggo [Dredda Records - 2011]
Today we take a look and a listen back to an album from just last year which, at least to my observation, really went under the proverbial radars and, now more than a year on, isn't hailed in the same esteem that it really deserved. As I've referred to in the past, there is a certain amazing feeling which comes to me when I hear music of any genre I enjoy done at a level which I feel is either at or entirely near its absolute best - It's impossible to do this type of music much, if any at all, better than what you hear in this particular case. Well, here that happens to me on more than half of the album's tracks. It was definitely thin and brief, but what it lacked in a 'longevity' in the immediate sense, it made up for with one in the more everlasting significance. "Modern Rockers Vol. 1" by Joggo.
1. 'DJ Play Me Some Roots'
"The kinda riddim that mek you wanna shake your head"
That sums up 'DJ Play Me Some Roots' pretty well and sonically, better than I ever could (even with my devastating vocabularical abilities) (WHAT!). Today I look at this song presenting the music itself as some type of a blade which cuts through the nastiness in the world and makes the people good. If "people" ever got a good hold of this tune, it'd exist as a painkiller for the world because this is one SWEET track.
2. 'Strong Like Lion' featuring Turbulence & Jah Decko
Joggo enlisted the help of veteran Turbulence and the producer of the album, Jah Decko on the second and one of the finest moments on Decko's piece of work, 'Strong Like Lion'. BOOM! It isn't rare at all for me, really, but a one night maybe a couple of months ago, this song was my best friend and I probably heard it approximately twenty times through consecutively or so. I'm left thinking that it's one of Turbulence's best musical performances in . . . a really long time. Also it's one of the direct moments on "Modern Rockers Vol. 1" which just give you that feeling that you're listening to something spectacular!
3. 'Strong Black Woman'
Listen to this track and don't smile! Go ahead! You may be able to do it (and you may also have bad hearing), but I can't. 'Strong Black Woman' is sterling. I know I overuse that word (because I really, really like it), but it's appropriate in this case as Joggo declares his huge admiration of Women of Afrikan Descent.
4. 'Love You Like No Other'
Every time I try to think of what I really think about 'Love You Like No Other', I find myself actually listening through it and being more impressed than I previously thought it was - if I keep going, it'll probably be the best song on the album, tomorrow. As of right now, however, it is another crucial love song on a project which wasn't short on such prizes, but another NEVER hurt anyone. Be careful with this one.
5. 'I Am Blessed' featuring Mr. Patze
"Mi nah go lef mi gyal fi another gyal
Even if she do mi wrong, still mi nah go go
Cah mi love mi Empress, so mi beat pon mi chess
I realize I've been blessed!"
Here's a song about a woman, who knows who she is but she's clearly important to Joggo, who is TRULY appreciated in someone's life. Whoever she is, I'm sure she loved 'I Am Blessed' and she wasn't the only one.
6. 'You Don't Know'
To my ears, 'You Don't Know' is a selection which has moved further and further away from being your more stereotypical or 'normal' type of a love song and instead I now refer to it as some type of cultural/relationship commentary. But, you'll call whatever you like except for BAD, because this tune was a winner.
7. 'Peace & Love'
'Peace & Love' is a song on this album which kind of makes itself 'easy' to overlook because it doesn't come in with as much flash as some of its 'neighbours', but it's better than almost all of them simultaneously. The real key to this tune, as it has always been, is its second verse which is musical GOLD and a brilliant piece of social commentary. So while it may not make you jump up from your seat, what it will do is force to get just a bit more comfortable and think a great deal how a talent like this could ever go unnoticed.
This antiviolence selection, 'Gundown' has probably become one of the, if not THE signature moments of the album and it certainly didn't hurt that it was a fairly well known big tune even prior to the record's release. However, with that being said, it does succeed on far more than just its familiarity. It was a MASSIVE song and one which may become the first which comes to mind when you think of Joggo in the immediate future. And if you need more information than that about the quality of this album - this isn't its best song!
9. 'I & I Know'
Originally 'I & I Know' was the single best moment on "Modern Rockers Vol. 1" to my ears and while it probably an unlikely choice, nothing has really changed in that area. TEARS!
"No wi no dumb
Know exactly where from where dem false prediction
KNOW SEH WICKED MAN CAAH ENTER JAH JAH KINGDOM
Dem last resting place will stay six feet underground"
10. 'Jah Jah Neva'
"They took us away from out homeland
On the way to Suriname
So we lived like slaves
Worked like slaves
Died like slaves
I'm a runaway slave!"
The Steel Pulse-esque 'Jah Jah Neva' has become a real highlight from this album to my opinion and while that was probably a distinction it always held for me, it's never been as high as now. Joggo puts on a history and cultural lesson which is not to be missed on the tune and he arranges it in a way which is just as pleasing to the ears as it is informative to the mind.
11. 'I Wonder'
And lastly was 'I Wonder', which was another glowing love song and also the best present to my opinion. This one literally had a light attached it, or a wick or something. It purely sounds like it lights up the album and it'll do the same for the listener as well! DAMN!
The lasting impression of this album, as I alluded to are two significant points for me. The first is, again, really just how many memorable and powerful moments it packed in to such a small space. The critique here is that there're only eleven songs, and it well fits, but you don't say that you're frustrated in the length of the album in the sense that it NEEDED more music, you say it because you wanted to hear more! Why not continue?! And, on top of that, is how it may not have ultimately gotten the respect it was due. These days, I think a case of at least some type of momentum could be struck that it was THE best album of 2011, while making an obvious concession. It was right up there and you don't quickly rush through or around moments like these. Fortunately, I'd like to think it was just a start for Joggo and that what "Modern Rockers Vol. 1" did for him was to establish some type of 'waterline' of quality for his output - it will always be at least this good. If ever gets significantly better, then you won't need someone like me to remind you just how special he almost was.