Friday, August 7, 2020

Duff Review: Prince Fatty and Shniece Mcmenamin "Funkin' for Jamaica (N.Y.)"

The cover features a silhouette of a woman wading in calm ocean waters, with the sun setting in the background.Evergreen Recordings
Digital single

(Review by Steve Shafer)

"Funkin' for Jamaica (N.Y.)" is Prince Fatty and Shniece Mcmenamin latest effort in their ongoing collaborative project of creating reggae versions of their favorite soul songs from the '60s, '70s, and '80s (see my review of their recent Disco Deception EP). This extraordinary, ecstatic 1980 funk-jazz-soul track was originally written and recorded by jazz trumpeter Tom Browne and singer Toni Smith as a tribute to Browne's hometown of Jamaica, Queens (and was #1 for a month on Billboard's R&B chart and made the top 10 UK singles chart). While "Funkin' for Jamaica" has been sampled and covered by many hip-hop and soul artists, Prince Fatty and Shniece Mcmenamin's recording is believed to be the first reggae version (and with a song title like this, it certainly calls out for one). Both renditions open with a high, sustained trumpet note, but the Friday night, good times funk and magnificent jazz improvisations at the edges of the original are traded in for a more sedate, late night, "Quiet Storm" riddim track--though Shniece's showcased vocals give Smith's impressive (Chaka Khan-ish) take a run for their money.

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1 comment:

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