Norman Jay / Good Times 6

Norman Jay’s Good Times Soundsystem is one of the legends of Carnival. The tunes resonate with the many faces of funk, from house to soul, reggae to R’n’B (classic, not modern trash) Sir Norman of Jay can always be relied on to bring the noise, in the most tasteful way possible. Things kick right off with quality here, with the orchestral quality of the Brooklyn Bronx & Queens Band’s Starlette giving way to some classic Ce Ce Peniston, Keep On Walking hitting all the right notes, as ever. The classic tunes keep coming, as Norman mines Boyz II Men (Thank You) and Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (I Don’t Blame You At All) for some seriously soulful crowd-pleasers. There’s room for new blood too, though, because nestling at the end of the first CD -hen you’ve quite finished re-appreciating The Clash’s Rock The Casbah and Desmond Dekker’s Isralites -here’s Bugz in the Attic’s Once Twice and High Contrast’s Racing Green. There are two tunes that should blow out the cobwebs nicely, as you limber up for a listen to the second CD (or indeed another hour of dancing on Southern Row).

Lena Horne starts things off in fine form now (with Norman rescuing yet another gem you may not have heard for a while) then things continue with a real British classic: Omar. His Golden Brown sounds as beautiful as ever, fittingly for a sound as celebratory as Good Times. Now, though, things do take a quieter tone, as Norman brings things down a level or two with Pentangle’s Light Flight and Chris Montez’s The More I See You. The latter in particular is definitely the more eccentric side of Good Times, what with its classic folk vocals. Still, Good Times wouldn’t have survived this long without a healthy love of the unexpected; a feeling which continues on this second CD of curios. Barry White gets all ‘love walrus’ as he implores us, Don’t Make Me Wait Too Long, while Willie Colon’s Set Fire To Me is an underrated piece of down-low funk. Still, though, the crowds will be jumping for joy to House Of Pain’s Jump Around, Norman’s recently announced ‘Get Out Of Jail Free’ tune for those dodgy moments even an old pro must face. Play this loud, you know you want to.rnrnBUY THIS COMPILATION HERE

Manu Ekanayake

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