I came across an album and the cover was so plain that I figured it had to have some real soul to it. So once I played it the first thing I realized was how I came across a sample Alchemist used and that song, “Watch Out For The Riders”, was actually good, damn good. The album has a fuse between soul, funk, gospel and blues. I mean he sounds like someone who is completely down on his luck and hoping for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. As much as there are songs of keeping the faith and staying strong there is such a tired beaten tone in his voice.
The first song is “Listen To The Message” which is a song about standing on your own two feet. The funk gives you a bit of some Sly and The Family Stone type vibe. This album can easily make think of many other artists who are by far more famous than D.J. Rodgers is. “It’s All Over” has a poor man’s version of Donnie Hathaway by way of the arrangement of music and the first verse as well as the lyrics. This isn’t bad at all and I’m not saying that was the intent at all because many artists back then did have similar sounds. I mean “Celebration” sounds so similar to The New Birth song with the some title that I’m left wondering if this a different take on the same song, that was big back in the day covering songs that was only a year or so old. The funk element is good as the songs do again give you a vibe of everything from Sly to The Ohio Players at times but then there is that vibe that becomes all it’s own as the album goes on.
Another element is the gospel vibe that plays a major part like the funk does. “Don’t You Want To Ride” is a gospel song in all fairness, and it really does feel good to listen to. One of the wildest things about this song is really has no verses at all just Rodgers moaning. One of the best parts of the song is the switch up where Rodgers and a female get it in before a choir comes in to end things off. The background singers or choir or whatever they are shine just as much as Rodgers himself. The background choir gives it a down home feeling as much as the band with the bluesy funk does.
This album is good not great and it could get old quick because people love hearing love songs and there aren’t many on here at all. This sounds like a man’s confession with coming to a fork in the road. ‘It’s All Over” is the love song and that’s a sad one, nothing baby making about that shit at all. With that said it’s cool because you see someone establishing who he is as an artist as he wrote these songs. This is Rodgers first album so certain flaws are to be expected like the repetitiveness by way of the topics on this album. If you’re into finding old school gems from artist the average person wouldn’t’ know this album is a good one to get. I been looking for music from D.J. Rodgers and have found two more albums so far.