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New Release - Optimistic Bliss by Ricky Persaud Jr - Is Simply Wickedly Cool (Bongo Boy Records)
September 19, 2017


Album Review | Optimistic Bliss by Ricky Persaud JR.
Album Review by: The Grouch
New Album Release: W O R L D W I D E
Belvidere, NJ

For Immediate release

Hej America!

My friends at Bongo Boy have asked me to review an album they are about to release by Ricky Persaud Jr. I first heard Ricky on the Bongo Boy compilation album Raw and Reckless, I remember liking his stuff so it is with some excitement that I cue up this newest album Optimistic Bliss.

The first thing I noticed is the album cover which is simply wickedly cool. The second thing, which is apparent from the cover, is that this album is, if not full on Reggae, at least has its roots in Reggae. Tell me now, who does not dig Reggae??

Take Toots and the Maytals for example, when they sing

Country roads take me home
To the place I belong
West Jamaica, my ol' momma
Take me home country road

They totally blow away the original song by John Denver, which I thought was a pretty lame song. So after listening to a little Toots and getting primed for some Jamaican Soul I hit the play button on my music app on my computer.

1. Let Me See - Right from the start you can hear that Ricky is a monster player. His musicianship is really very good. Ricky has the ability to melodically jam - I mean this song simply smokes without even using feedback. I like Ricky's voice, but in all honesty, it almost sounds like the chorus is "Let me see how you roll tide." Who knew that the University of Alabama was filled with Reggae aficionados? (Just joking man, this song is killer.)

2. Sound of A Hit - I really like the percussion in this song. I remember once when my band was opening for a bigger Reggae act. I was talking with their drummer and he said something that must be true, that is, as a drummer once you go Reggae you never go back. Just listen to this song and the way the percussion is hitting the various instruments in its arsenal and I think you will agree even if you aren't a drummer. The best way to summarize this song is with the ending "That was good."

3. Ooh Baby - This song starts with some hypnotic guitar then the drums come in for the attack before the track goes into full Reggae mode. This is really a Reggae love song that, in its own way, is quite tender and sweet. Don't worry though this isn't some lame Journey song from the 80s, this love song grooves.

4. Reggae Blues - This song starts with a blast! Good God I love raunchy blues with just the right amount of feedback. The shuffle groove on the high-hat goes so well with the absolutely cranking guitar. Jimi must be looking down smiling. This song is called Reggae Blues for a good reason. There is enough lightning to please the blues folks while the Reggae vibe is strong enough for the Dread Heads to let those locks fly. Well done Ricky! This is perhaps my favorite track on the album.

5. Jah I Need Your Love - I dig the almost surf like intro which morphs into a Reggae vibe which is enhanced by some truly nice leads and a soul filled horn section. The pounding drums between verses seem put there just to let the listener know than an explosion can occur anytime the Ricky chooses. As good as the music is, what really stands out are the vocals. Ricky has a very good voice.

6. Girl Has The Essence - Very nice funk guitar with a wah-wah effect starts off the song and then Ricky breaks into a simply melodic, beautiful song. Again, the vocals are hypnotic, so hypnotic that I almost missed the cool little fills the percussion was throwing in - almost.

Basically, Ricky is a one man tornado that is a tremendous party band on par with the old J. Geils Band. Now, the style of music is totally different, but the groove is the same. You knew if Geils was playing then a massive party would be happening. I have the feeling that anywhere Ricky plays is one massive joyous event!

7. It's Alright - Man, I dig those little rolls Ricky puts down at the beginning of the song.
He goes into a very mellow, laid back groove and actually croons. The thing is that it sounds very good. All of a sudden, I am aware of the bass and the drums hitting the pocket for a subtle jam, then the mellow crooning is back, but backed by some funky guitar and Ricky on the drums who seems to enjoy throwing in high-hat fills. The guitar then steps up for a very melodic and soulful jam before the chorus comes back. This time however, the crooning is replaced by some very intense vocals. Overall, Ricky has a fantastic range and is able to switch moods in an instant.

8. People Of The World - The listener is hit with a massive blast of Reggae Funk right from the start. The bass and drums are spot on while the guitar provides a chopping chord background that makes the listener want to move. There is still room for a blistering guitar jam towards the end of the song that includes a wicked walk down run. Ricky is a young and very talented musician. This song is filled with the idealistic innocence of youth which is, at least for this old Punk, both endearing and admirable. The Dead Kennedys this isn't.

9. Goodbye 16 - Man, I like the intro to this song. It is a hurricane of sound that blasts into the listener's head. Then the Reggae vibe kicks in and Ricky tells us the story of losing his innocence. I really like this track. His vocals are intense, at times bordering on screaming, before returning to a melodic tone. Actually, the blasts of energy and, the at times, raunchiness of the vocals make me think this track should be classified as RegPunk. All in all, an excellent jam!

10. Feel The Love - This beginning of this song reminds me of Queen. The vocals are fantastic.
Really, listen to this song and tell me this is not on par with Freddie Mercury. This song really does have the feel of Queen doing Reggae. That is a complement. In case you have been living under a rock or are simply too young to remember Queen, they were technically one of the best bands - ever. This track has the same feel, it is melodic, bordering on classical and then BOOM, just like Queen's Brian May, the guitar opens up with a breathtaking jam that leaves the listener stunned. I am very impressed.

11. Optimistic Bliss - The title track of the album opens with some sound effects of what sounds like waves crashing or a storm brewing while the guitar plays a chord progression. This evolves into a song with the rest of the instruments joining in for a few bars, building up for the change to the slight Reggae vibe. Soon after the initial Reggae blast the band goes into a more traditional Rock and Roll chorus. All in all, the duality works well. The Reggae feel provides a perfect backdrop for the optimistic lyrics, while the chorus lets the listener know that Ricky did, in fact, grow up in New Jersey. I really like the guitar jam at the end and only wish it had gone on longer. I'm sure Ricky extends the jam when he is playing live.

12. Alive - Oh yeah I dig that bass at the start of the track. Between verses Ricky plays a funk filled refrain that just makes me smile. I find myself nodding my head and keeping time with the percussion as the guitar wails and Ricky spouts his excellent voice. I enjoy his vocal ability so much that, in all honesty, I am not listening to the words, just the notes. The Doo-wop section in the middle of the song is a surprise, but it works. I have to wonder is this an homage to Jersey Boys?

So folks what is the bottom line? Simple: Ricky is a young, very talented musician who will be around for a very long time. His music is excellent on so many levels that you really need to listen to it for yourself. - The Grouch | Sweden Now in The Rockies.

T H E A L B U M Optimistic Bliss
On this 4th album Ricky performed all the instruments and produced the album together with Ricky Persaud, Sr. The album was Mixed & Produced by Ricky Persaud, Jr. & Ricky Persaud, Sr. for Persaud Entertainment, LLC. Mastered by Gar Francis for Bongo Boy Records and Recorded at Crossroads Studios.

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