Jackie Brown

I Still Love You

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    5
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Singer/songwriter Jackie Brown is barely mentioned in most reggae history books, and remains a shadowy figure from the roots reggae past to most of the music's fans. Interestingly, though, he is a huge star in Brazil, where he has regularly pulled audiences of 20,000 and up and where this album was originally released in 1999. It's a largely pleasing effort, though the fact that all of the rhythms were produced by Joe Gibbs would lead one to expect something just a bit more distinctive. Brown's sweetly affecting falsetto voice, somewhat reminiscent of Horace Andy's, is a pleasure throughout, despite occasional pitch problems. But the digital rhythms sound a bit flat and prefabricated. He does a good job of transcending them on such fine numbers as "Let's Give Love Another Try" and a great adaptation of the classic country song "Send Me the Pillow," but the instrumental accompaniment is no help on a horrendously maudlin tearjerker called "Nobody's Child" and the dreary two-chord "Jah Jah Children." Most of the songs on this album fall into the former category rather than the latter, though. Recommended with slight reservations.

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