Review Summary: This is a really good record and it will get only better as we pass from winter into the summer time.
The history of Jamaican music has morphed and changed sounds so many times it is hard to keep all the styles straight. The great thing about any indigenous music is the journey and life it has. Jamaican music has traveled from the 1950’s doo wop inspired era, to the energetic bounce of SKA, to the calm yo’ ass down influence of the Rocksteady beats. Then we traversed through the mountain range Himalaya of Bob Marley’s massive contribution, then to the proverbial Noah’s ARK of Lee Scratch Perry and DUB followed by the descent into Dance Hall and now the Sound boy Culture. It was only just a matter of time until the genre started gaining well-versed practitioners from other areas of the world. The emergence of the white Irish American reggae purveyor Gingermon, is one of the most intriguing and inspiring reggae offerings in a long time.
It encompasses all the things this girl loves about reggae. Beside the fact we share a different version of the same name, (full disclosure: after a wild night of partying with perhaps a few too many drinks some of my college sisters started calling me Ginger Schnapps - LOL), the way it makes me want to dance and chillax, it always feels like a warm bath for my soul. The other thing I like about Gingermon is he does not complain about us girls in the same way many misogynistic artists do these days. Each song seems to go from strength to strength. One of the notable singles that makes my lil’ heart soar and my hips sway is the happy melancholy of One Track Mind. A lost lament of the days of summer channels all the best things about the music. The distinctive Rock steady drum patterns keep it familiar, while the Americanized influence of the lyrics and the vocals, takes it out of the ordinary. It is the chemistry of the elements, like the muted palm guitar lines that echo the melody and counterpoint that adds percussive heft to the track.
The psychedelic electric sitar/guitar lines and bouncing drums and the romantic words turn Oh No, into one of my favorite tracks on this release. The energy coming from the tracks with the warm organ stabs highlights the twists and turns on the roads of this recording and really showcases the uniqueness of Gingermon, or Tim Gandee, as this artist is known to his family. It is rare that an American guy from Cleveland has produced one of the better reggae albums with this sort of music, that I have heard in a long, long time. Hey, go figure!
You can almost hear the rustling of the rolling paper and see the scraps from the ends, falling back out on the table when the album kicks into a love song I could have written myself. Gingermon is not the only person in this world that loves Sativa. The bass is the calling card and foundation of the music and keeps the beat moving and the smoke rings rising. He speaks the truth and says for me what I know too. This hard-drinking diva loves me some Sativa too every now and then and I do not care who knows it. The line “…you’re so lovely, when you’re in bloom…” says it all for me. The production and the way they put the songs together always gives your ear something interesting to go to as every second passes. This is a really good record and it will get only better as we pass from winter into the summertime. So, don’t just say “Yah mon” anymore, say Gingermon. And don’t forget to pass that spliff to your best girl Ginger Schnapps.