Jackie Mittoo

Jackie Mittoo Now

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The program on Jackie Mittoo Now is predictable but wholly enjoyable: fifteen early reggae instrumentals, highlighting Mittoo's glowing, extremely Booker T. & the MG's-influenced organ. In fact, there's really not much to set this apart from his earlier solo sides in a more rocksteady style, except that the backing arrangements and rhythms have moved toward a more languid reggae approach. He still puts in some reggae-fied covers of pop/rock hits, including "Eleanor Rigby," Neil Diamond's "Holly Holy," and Christie's one-shot "Yellow River," though these make up a small minority of the tracks. ("Totally Together" sure sounds a lot like it's based on Santana's arrangement of "Evil Ways," though.) Some major American soul influences, however, make themselves heard at times, the horns and rhythm section of "Hot Tamale" burble along with loping funk. Other numbers, though, have a far more Jamaican-soaked sound, like the ghostly blend of organ and just-out-of-ska piano and guitar on "Best by Request." "Bloody Mary" might be the most innovative track, decorated by what sounds like submerged underwater wah-wah effects.

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