Jesse Royal - Lily Of Da Valley (Easy Star Records)

After a mixtape ('In Comes The Small Axe', 2013), a collaborative project with Walshy Fire ('Royally Speaking', 2014) and a whole bunch of singles, Jesse Royal's fans finally get what they'd been craving for: a full-fledged album! 'Lily Of da Valley', the title of his long player debut, refers to an old nineteenth-century church hymn Jesse was taught by his grandmother, often providing solace in the difficult times and reminding him of the fact Christ was human and not a deity. 'Lily Of Da Valley' also appears on a key moment in Jesse's life: he just became a first time father (see 'Always Be Around'), but recently also lost his mother. The album was partly recorded at Applehead Studio in Woodstock and at the Big Yard and Tuff Gong studios in Jamaica. Cheerful ganja-anthem 'Finally' (but be sure also to check the possibly even more upbeat sounding 'Roll Me Something') and absolute hit single 'Modern Day Judas' (Jesse's version over the Rootsman riddim, also known from Chronixx' 'Here Comes Trouble') most of you will undoubtedly recognize, but the track list of 'Lily Of Da Valley' contains even more goodies. Opener '400 Years', a song about the centuries of unequal treatment of the black part of the world's population, sets the tone, and repatriation-tune 'Waan Go Home', a duet with Patrice, and the militant 'Stand Firm', are of the same order. 'Real Love' has an r&b vibe and for closing track 'Jah Will See Us Through', Royal even goes disco/funk. 'Full Moon' however, a combination with French DJ/saxophonist Natty Rico, is a real stinker and pure Eurotrash for willing Tomorrowland crowds. In the past few years Jesse Royal already proved his worth in his exhilarating live performances, so in all truth the release of 'Lily Of Da Valley' is actually nothing more than a formality. More than enjoyable debut effort!


Added: Oct 10, 2017