Canadian JUNO award winning Jamaican drummer turned singer Odel Johnson, most recognized for his work with the Fully Fullwood Band and Messenjah released his first solo CD 'Mind & Body Sold'.
Already heads are turning in the Reggae community - this is music that channels an ancient energy - and have no doubts - Odel is a rising star that delivers a conscious message of hope.
One of the best roots albums of the year by anyone, anywhere!
Odel Johnson steps out from behind the drum with "Mind & Body Sold", a set of all original music with standout tracks like "Jah Son", "Freementality" and "Crazy Bumpheads". The late great Peter Tosh is a definite influence on Odel's vocal style, hauntingly so on cuts like "Signs" and leadoff track "Fire In The Hole". Tony Chin, Fully Fullwood and Jawge Hughes dominate the rhythm tracks (along with Odel's drums) and the defiantly cultural lyrics and slow and steady delivery give this one a stamp of authenticity. Guests include Sidney Mills on guitar and Aisha Shillingford and Lorraine Reid on backing vocals. A nice blend of Latin influences and Reggae can be heard on "Mantos Santos". If you've been longing for the straightforward Reggae style of old this one mixes the clean, crisp sound of today's digital recording with the Reggae style we grew up with in the mid 70s.
THE BEAT MAGAZINE
The forcefulness of Peter Tosh wrapped with the messages of Bob Marley.
A refreshing old-school sound of uplifting and melodic Reggae which is slightly more difficult to find these days ... it might be that Odel was influenced by his surroundings as he was growing up in the same parish as Bob Marley, Burning Spear and Marcus Garvey.
Odel Johnson has stepped out from behind the drums to center stage with his strong solo debut. The first thing one notices, besides the bright ornate sounds, is his commandig voice which summons one to listen. The strength and conviction in his voice invites comparison to international Reggae star Luck Dube, as Odel's delivery teeters on a similar vein as Peter Tosh. "Neva Lonely", the most dynamic standout and personal fave of this 11-track disk, has the ability to withstand the test of time. "Mantos Santos" with it's inviting latin/soca feel, "Iron Curtain Man", "Fire In The Hole" and the title track are amongst a series of sturdy arrangements which puts the stories back into the music while maintaining solid entertainment value. Odel, who is currently on tour, is definitely an artist which deserves to be heard.
Odel shows himself to be an impressive talent as a singer and songwriter as well as behind the drums. Highly recommended overall.
Time for some Roots Reggae, a genre I don't listen to enough. Especially when the songs and performances are as potent as they are. Fabulous melodies and thought provoking lyrics, Odel has delivered an excellent set of songs.
With some fabulous horn arrangements and vocal harmonies, this isn't rooted in the past as so many Reggae albums. Although Odel shares his cultural home of St. Ann's parish with Bob Marley, it's that other hometown legend, Burning Spear, that Odel seems to draw from most. Helped along by George "Fully" Fullwood, Tony Chin and Jawge Hughes Sr., Odel has put together a band of sympathetic believers who drive the songs along. Strangely enough, the vibe was recorded in Los Angeles and in his base of Toronto, Canada. Not natural homes for Reggae, but they seem to have subsumed the feeling. The best song is the divine "Signs", a song so good it appears twice - in Reggae and ballad styles. Even without the other exemplary tracks, that song alone would be worth the price of admission.
Odel's words of wisdom and fine tenor vocal delivery showcased by a top band, with the legendary Scientist at the desk - we been skankin to 'Fire In The Hole' all day :) do yourself a favour, check it now ...
An album that sparks with energy - from start to finish.
Think Roots Reggae doesn't sound the way it used to? Think again. Playing with the heart of the famed Soul Syndicate (Niney the Observer's band of choice) and engineered by the legendary Scientist, Odel Johnson got a lot going for him. From the opening "Fire in the Hole", the band achieves a tightness that would give Burning Spear's present band a run for its money.
"Mind & Body Sold" is Odel's time to shine. This record is a richly layered sonic experience complete with intricate horn patterns, lush gospel-influenced suppporting vocals, rock guitar fills and solos. It is fair to say with all due respect that this release is composed outside the confines of many contemporary Reggae albums. It does not rely on remakes of vintage rhythms as a base nor does it attempt to rehash slogans or doctrine from spiritual teachings. What it does instead is embrace and exemplify the sonic vibe of the 70's by delivering superlative tracks, potent lyrical phrasing, and unique rebel poetry that as a sum of their parts are essential to the great Reggae experience. It is indeed a testament to those following or observing a spiritual path.
Lynden "Odel" Johnson is the drummer for both the Fully Fullwood Band and Messenjah; stepping out for the first time as a solo artist with Mind & Body Sold, he shows himself to be an impressive talent as a singer and songwriter as well as behind the drums. He seems to be taking quite a few cues from South African reggae superstar Lucky Dube -- from the first sung phrase on "Fire in the Hole," Dube's influence is clear, and it only becomes clearer when the lush female backing vocalists chime in on "Lazarus" and "Neva Lonely." But Johnson has ideas of his own, which he expresses with stylistic forays into funk (on the impressive title track) and a sort of Cuban-calypso fusion (on the very fine "Mantos Santos"). He also comes up with a fairly interesting rewrite of Bob Marley's "Crazy Baldheads," here titled "Crazy Bumpheads." Highly recommended overall.
RICK ANDERSON, ALL MUSIC GUIDE