In 1988, Augustus "Gussie" Clarke recorded J.C. Lodge over a riddim initially fashioned for the Mighty Diamonds. The producer had already found success in Jamaica with Gregory Isaacs' version "Rumours" earlier in the year, so much so that he dedicated an entire album, Showcase '88, to the riddim. Lodge's version, "Telephone Love," was included within, and it wasn't long before the song began connecting with club charts around the world. That prompted Clarke to take Lodge back into the studio for a full-length set, Selfish Lover. Lodge is accompanied by the best -- Robbie Lyn, the Brownes (drummer Clevie, multi-instrumentalist Danny, and guitarist Dalton), and Rass Brass -- and the set also features exquisite backing vocals by Brian and Tony Gold, Pam Hall, and Nadine Sutherland. Bar the horns, the same musicians had backed Deborahe Glasgow's eponymous lovers rock masterpiece, yet the two sets sound oceans apart. The soulful Lodge's strong vocals supported tougher arrangements and productions than Glasgow's more delicate style, and thus Clarke filled Lodge's set with the same kind of rough-and-tumble, dubby ragga roots riddims that he handed his male vocalists. Obviously, "Telephone" is the centerpiece of the set, but there are at least half a dozen other cuts that equal it (and that's not counting the trio of combo numbers): the emotive "Way Up," the potent come-hither title track, the blissful "Sweet Dreams," the bubbly and infectious "Cautious," the impetuous "Lonely Nights," and the set-opening "Love's Gonna Break Your Heart," which showcases her vocals at their best. All of these numbers are extraordinary, but it's the trio of combo numbers that shook up the dancehalls. The heaviest hitter was "Hardcore Loving," which paired her to great effect with Shabba Ranks; Tiger ravages and ravishes her on "Love Me Baby"; while "Since You Came into My Life," her duet with Sugar Minott, was a sparkling piece of sweetness and light. An amazing talent, cruelly treated by the fickle general public, Lodge has continued notching up hits at home, and has released other excellent records, but none would repeat "Telephone"'s success, nor hit quite the heady heights of this stunning set.
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AllMusic Review by Jo-Ann Greene
feat: Sugar Minott
feat: Shabba Ranks