Johnny Nash

My Merry-Go-Round

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After the big smash of Johnny Nash's 1972 record, I Can See Clearly Now, this follow-up failed to catch on in the public eye in the same manner. However, this album did allow Nash to briefly touch the R&B charts (at number 40) with "Loving You." Expectations aside, this is a fine record that showcases Johnny Nash's sweet, vocal work and some truly soulful arrangements. There is no shortage of the reggae-inflected pop that made him famous, from the fine pop take on Bob Marley's "Nice Time" to the fun timeliness of "What a Groovy Feeling." Although the big, epic arrangement of the title track (complete with light synth work and a children's choir) and the heavy, theatrical synth stabs in the middle of "You Better Stop" may reek of '70s self-importance, this is -- under the denim patches and groovy terminology -- a soul record. Nowhere is this more evident than on tracks like the aforementioned "You Better Stop," which rolls out like a tune straight out of the Muscle Shoals studios. Meanwhile, "Gonna Open Up My Heart Again" plays like a triumphant, life-affirming anthem. The easy soul of "Loving You" is impossible to deny, while the country/gospel/soul of "Oh Jesus, We're Trying to Get Back to You" is equally affecting. While not a perfect LP from end to end, it truly is an album of sweet, down-home soul music from an under-looked soul performer.

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