Jimmy Riley's solo years haven't been quite as striking as his early days in the 1960s as a member of the Sensations and the legendary Uniques, but Someone Like You (released in the late 1990s) goes a long way toward balancing things out, featuring several finely written originals and a couple of well-chosen (and even surprising) covers, all given a unified feel with clever arrangements and bright instrumentation. With the seemingly ubiquitous rhythm section of Sly & Robbie on board, and with the like of the Heptones' Leroy Sibbles helping on harmony vocals, Riley's delicate tenor gives songs like "Someone Like You" (with its spooky -- yet oddly soothing -- horn and flute interjections), "Attention" (with a thumping dancehall rhythm) and "Gaining Ground" an easy, warm soulfulness. Particularly striking is a remake of the Uniques' "My Conversation" (which Riley helped co-write), perhaps that group's finest moment, in which Riley tackles the brilliant original Slim Smith lead vocal with his own affecting and halting version. Riley hardly reinvents the song, but why would he want to? That he recreates it in its original arrangement makes "My Conversation" work both as a contemporary song and as a touching tribute to the late Smith. There are a couple of American pop covers here, too, a rather rote version of Stephen Stills' "Love the One You're With" and an intriguing rendition of the Left Banke's "Walk Away Renee." In all, Someone Like You is perhaps Riley's strongest solo outing, and its consistent tone and bright arrangements make it a compelling statement from a veteran Jamaican singer.
AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett