Until just a few weeks ago I had no idea who Jeb Loy Nichols was. I had the opportunity to review his recently released mini album ‘Ya Smell Me?’ for the Subba-Cultcha site (click here to read it). So having only just discovered this American who lives in Wales I need to make up for lost time.
So let’s start with a forthcoming reissue of his album ‘Long Time Traveller’, which originally found limited release in Japan in 2010. The album is produced by Adrian Sherwood and features members of both the Dub Syndicate and the Roots Radics. My first exposure to Jeb suggested that he is an excellent purveyor of country soul, which he clearly is. However I am very pleasantly surprised to say that he is also a talented country/ dub fusion artist. Is there another person in that genre? Somehow I doubt that there are many.
As a teenager I loved reggae and dub but I disliked country, largely because my parents liked it (oh that ridiculous teenage rebelliousness) . But as I have got older I have learned to love much country music. The combination of country and dub doesn’t sound like it would work, well not on paper anyway. But on record (or CD in my case) it works bloody well. This album is definitely going to soundtrack some afternoons in my garden this summer.
The songs are infectious especially “Lonely King Of The Country”, “Poor Man’s Prayer” and “To Be Rich (Should Be A Crime)”. Although I am not sure that I agree entirely with the sentiments of the last one. The extra disc I have with my copy has some great alternate mixes of seven of the albums songs. All very good but the main album mixes are more preferable to me. Disc two also has four songs not on the album of which “Salt Of A Fallen Tear” is stupendous. All credit to the On-U Sound label for getting this out there.
If you fancy something a bit different then buy this album, I love it and I hope that you do too. I hope to see Jeb live sometime soon. Why are artists like him not performing to bigger audiences? He needs to be heard!