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Johnny Nash

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Album Review

This American-born singer took up part-time residence in Jamaica in the mid-'60s, and built a successful career from there. Before that, however, Johnny Nash had recorded in the U.S. to little avail, debuting with his eponymous album in 1958. ABC-Paramount signed the 17-year-old after he won the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts show earlier that year, and the label aimed this record straight at the white MOR audience who lapped up Johnny Mathis and Harry Belafonte. And so the teenager was handed a dozen ballads to croon to. Logically, this album should then have been a smash hit. Plush, beautiful melodies, lush, gorgeous musical arrangements, and Nash's warm, rich, and emotive vocals; really, what more could one ask for? But the record inexplicably failed to connect with American listeners. ABC must have been flabbergasted, and Nash crushed. However, this failure prodded the young singer down a different road, into movies, across a few more failed records, on to an R&B hit, and finally to Jamaica where for most fans his career really began. This album is little more than champagne music, but the singer gives it heart and soul, and the orchestral production does gloriously shade Nash's amazing voice. The teen would have been much happier if the record had been successful, but Jamaica and — in the long run — Nash himself would have been the losers.


Born: 19 August 1940 in Houston, TX

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Though by no means an artistic innovator on par with contemporaries such as Bob Marley or Jimmy Cliff, singer Johnny Nash nevertheless proved a pivotal force behind the mainstream acceptance of reggae with the international success of his 1972 chart-topper "I Can See Clearly Now." Born in Houston, Texas on August 19, 1940, Nash honed his vocal skills singing in his Baptist church's choir and by 13 was a regular on the local television series Matinee, performing covers of current R&B hits; in 1956...
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Johnny Nash, Johnny Nash
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