C.J Lewis – Everything Is Alright (Uptight)


Release Date: Jul 94
Chart Position: 10

Vince
Our good friend and Neggae consultant SimonOrRushie was teaching part-time at a Sports college when this came out – it was his summer job while preparing to go to University. The staff were a mixture of Student part-timers and Adult permanent staff, and one such grown-up would attempt to “get down wit da yout'” and be accepted by Rushie and the other teens. Whenever he got his paycheque, he would run up to one of the young’uns, waggle said cheque, holler “RIBIDIBIDOBADEH! TINGS DEM ALRIGHT!” and then run off.R-1957841-1254992464
In terms of nonsense pop, that line is up there with the best of them. Do-wah-diddy-diddy-dum-diddy-doshoo-be-doo-be-doo-da-day, sha la la la lee – all songs that are frankly utter boll*cks and CJ can proudly join this pantheon. Unfortunately – that’s about all that is worth writing home about regarding this song. The rest is pretty awful.
It all sounds so cheap – Poundland Neggae. I can’t think of another song that samples STEVIE BLOODY WONDER and does such a bad job.
By the way, have you seen Stevie Wonder’s wife? No? Here’s a picture of her. Beautiful lady.

Stevie_Wonder_Presents_SyreetaCJ Lewis replaces one of the greatest horn refrains of all time with Bontempi keyboard trumpet effects. He switches the original stomping drum and bass break with a bog-standard hip-hop rhythm that I assume came free with the keyboard. The Backing vocals are nondescript, the sort of  rent-a-vox you’d hear in the 90s on anything vaguely dancey. They remind me of this abomination. For no reason whatsoever CJ and the backroom boyz have added crowd noises to the song. And as for his lyrics, they are indecipherable.  Not because of hos heavy patois, but because the song is (in my opinion) badly mixed with far too much going on. In fact it gave me a headache.
I guess the only plus points to  focus on here are the fact that this is standard, middle-of-the-bat Neggae. CJ knew what young Brits wanted, so he packaged it up and it shifted. Compared with last week’s entry China Black trying to be too clever, CJ understands the transitory nature of pop – which he should be applauded for (by way of a two-fingered clap).
Score: 5/10

Norm
Any song that starts of Ribeyedibbydibbyboomdahdeh has my attention. This pearler, surely is locked in as a Neggae Hot 90 chart topper right boys?
CJ Lewis comes at us with a strong and faced paced effort that is easy on the ears and gives you a reason to head bob and let your arms move in directions that makes Rodney Trotter seem coordinated. To me, that’s what good music is all about. It gives you the ability to be removed from reality for 3 or 4 minutes.
For some reason, I really like the video. I want one of those boxes that spouts out “Ribeyedibbydibbyboomdahdeh”. I’ve got a sneaky feeling that the Neggae elders may frown upon the karaoke style lyrics floating around the screen. Oh well, If they got the Rodney Trotters, then the vid was a distant blur and didn’t matter, if they didn’t get the Trotters, then that could be a problem for CJ.
In summary, CJ belts out a fun, island style tune with a great mix of island rap and velvet smooth vocals. The background singers really compliment his style well. Overall, a really well constructed song. Fun to listen to, great pace, nice mix of rap and vocals. Fun for all the family, superb bbq music and without a doubt Malibu worthy.
Score: 9/10 for me. Ribeyedibbydibbyboomdahdeh!

Jonny
Albert Einstein, Isaac Netwon, Stephen Hawking, John Lennon; I am sure if these great men were around tonight for me to discuss it with them they would all tell me that if you take a Steve Wonder Classic such as Uptight (Everything’s Alright) and put it through the neg blender you would create nothing but pure crud. It’s a universal scientific fact. A cheap commercialised rehash of something so great has so little chance of being anything other than noise pollution, and I would not see it differently. Throughout this blog I have openly criticised the use of timeless classics within this genre, often a lazy and disrespectful vehicle to simply make money in the absence of any other creative ideas and I continue to stand by this principle. However…
What CJ Lewis has done with this is close to perfection and a real master piece, proving to us that it can be done as long as you approach it a hint of dignity, an element of fun and overlay it with some ludicrous “Ribidibidibdibdibaheh, Ribidibidibdibdibaheh” wailing. He has not taken the fact that he is dealing with such a great song too seriously and it’s his audacious and maybe arrogant approach to this that make it work so well. Having said that he has clearly thought about it. His strategy of getting the nice looking lady to keep the cover in check by having her deliver the chorus line with him toasting and boasting around the outskirts of the song, combined with an upbeat, fast and fun filled tempo is how it all works and the resulting blend it nothing shy of remarkable.
The fact that the video on you tube is clearly an uploaded VHS tape, with static running across the first few seconds adds further charm to this gem. No expense has been wasted for the video, a few red Stripes followed by 20mins in front of a white screen in the studio, and let the graphics guy do his thing!
Score: A surprising but very satisfactory 9/10 from me.

Gouldy
It’s June, the weather’s shit and as I sit at my desk surveying the Orwellian nightmare that Woking’s town planners have seen fit to thrust upon the townsfolk it’s fair to say I’m not my usual chipper self, the only thing that’s going to drag me out of this funk is a serious hit of neggae. CJ Lewis doesn’t disappoint, from the first ‘ribidibidibidobahdeh’ (I actually paused the clip so I could get the correct spelling) and I feel like I’ve double dropped some tropical Prozac. Ribidibidibidobahdeh is a much underused term in today’s society because as the song title suggests it does make everything alright, a couple of examples for you;

“Yes Jamie that is the extremely destructive Japanese knotweed you have in the back garden of your recently purchased house”
“Shit”
‘‘ribidibidibidobahdeh”
“Oh well, no worries, I’ll get it sorted out, fancy a Lilt?”

Or

“I’m sorry to say Mr Gould your entire family has been killed in a house fire caused by the faulty plug you were meant to fix but didn’t bother doing, ribidibidibidobahdeh”
“Oh well, I’ll know for next time, fancy a Lilt?”

Back to the song which sees CJ taking on the Stevie Wonder classic as his neggae surge gathers momentum, CJ felt he could really go for it as he always had ‘Eggheads’ to fall back on if it didn’t work out. The song basically does what it says on the tin, I think it does anyway as I can barely hear it because Vince has seen fit to source a VHS recording of the Chart Show which I think is in mono. He’s kept the chorus and cleverly added his own verses and a big chunk of ribidibidibidobahdeh, it’s a simple formula but it works, the backing singers are decent, it’s no classic but it’s a solid enough effort. The video mainly consists of CJ berking about whilst dressed in the finest clothes Cheapjacks can supply, a man dressed as an Everton mint and a woman with one eye playing at home and the other playing away (still would, natch). This sounds like pretty standard neggae video behaviour but what lifts this into the all time classic music video category are the flying ribidibidibidobahdehs, at one point they even recreate the scene from ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ when the Nazis foolishly opened the Ark and cause their own demise.
Score: It’s not groundbreaking but it’s a nice effort, 7/10

Jamie
Utter Tosh. Its as if Tosh from the bill and John Toshack have had some weird love affair at Peter Tosh’s island retreat and this was the fruit of their sordid encounter. I’m not going to waste much time over this. Although I get the feeling I’ve already spent more time on this review than team Lewis took to murder a classic Stevie Wonder tune.
Its just noise for me. Ribbi dibbi do do dah deh? what the f*ck? Sounds like a frog with parkinson’s that’s choking in a shed after too many buckets. CJ Lewis for me is Feltham’s equivalent of Shabba Ranks.
As if the song wasn’t bad enough, the production team has elected to display the utter nonsense he’s spitting out letter for letter, made up word for made up word. Like a version of Sesame Street recorded specifically for pikey truant kids to make them clap, rock and feel better about their inherent stupidity.
Unlike Incognito and Coolio, I box this with the array of mis-guided bad  jusdgement call’s which have fallen a long way short when trying to  cover Stevie. If it’s not broken don’t try to cash in on it. That goes for you too Celine Dion the Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Blue. I cant tolerate CJ Lewis or his stupid music.
Score: 1 out of 10.  Tings dem not al reet meh.

NEGGAE SCORE: 6.22

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