C.J Lewis – Best of My Love


Release Date: Jul 94
Chart Position: 13

Vince
Here he is again then, the wiseman of Neggae, to tell us all ‘what a gwan‘ in this crazy place we call Planet Earth. A Neggae soothsayer if you will, nay –  a Neggae prophet. St John the Braptist. Nostrademus (and Pliers). CJ Lewis is going to take a melody from days of yore and fold in lyrical wisdom from the now to take us into from the future.
OR, he’s going to toast in exactly the same way as he’s done on his last two hits over a obvious pop sample anf over a happy shopper beat because it’ll shift a few more cassettes  In the words of Alan Partridge: “People like them, let’s make more of them.” Pop music consumers generally accept a degree of replication when a new artist suddenly hits the big time. Pop history is littered with follow-up songs that, give or take a melody line or a few different words are exactly the same as the initial chart smash. This was particularly prevalent in the 90s. Some examples:

Artist Pop Smash “We’re on to something here..”
Rednex Cotton-Eyed Joe Old Pop in an Oak
Scatman John The Scatman Scatman’s World
Prodigy Firestarter Breathe
No Mercy Where do you Go Please Don’t Go

Et cetera. Even the greatest band of all time did it (with this and this). The trick is, to get your foot in the door, but then go away and enhance your craft. Keep repeating the same old trick, and the public will view you as lazy or arrogant and won’t buy you records. As my Dad succinctly put it while watching CJ Lewis sleepwalk through this effort on TOTP “He’s taking the f*ckin p*ss now.”
And the song starts of so well too. There’s a sneaky little KC and the Sunshine band sample that fools us into thinking that young Steven James Lewis is going to go all Eric B & Rakim on our asses. Alas no. The rest of the song and video is a lazy yet uplifting homage to 70s disco; inoffensively cheery, like musical Schloer. CJ toasts, the guys and gals bob about in charity shop clobber and polyester wigs and everyone is happy.
The song is congruent with the whole everything-goes-in-20-year-cycles theory. Throughout the 90s There were tons of other Disco inspired pop hits (off the top of my head Kylie’s Step Back in Time, Gloria Estefan’s Turn the Beat Around, BucketHeads the Bomb). So in a way, I find it quite heartwarming that Neggae is following the cultural norm and CJ is representing our chart in the great merry-go-round of borrowed ideas that is pop. I too cashed in on this phenomenon, and hosted a suburban facsimile of the popular disco revivial night CarWash. It was exactly the same in many respects, but was held at Bisley Pavilion instead of Berwick Street and the average age of the clientele was 16¾.
Score: For reminding me of those Halclyon days (when Norm got caught eating the bouncers’ sandwiches) – 5/10.

167804_01_360

Gouldy
After last week’s Lauper debacle I was hoping for some actual neggae this week, when I saw that it was Eggheads favourite CJ Lewis my heart leapt. It’s back to a cover of sorts, this time the Emotions disco classic of the same name, CL had latched onto this 20 years before Daft Punk, ze seely Fronch roobots. The intro to this is like some lost native tongues classic, even sharing a sample with ‘Say No Go’  but after 20 seconds the Neg kicks in. Well I say that but I’m not sure it does, I’m finding it hard to differentiate between this and the original musically, I mean they’ve looped it a bit, chucked a couple of hip hop type samples over the top but have they made this neggae? I don’t think they have, it’s a bit lazy. The only neg in this are CJ’s vocals and lyrically they’re a bit humdrum, the usual sentiment of ‘oh your very presence enriches my existence due to the deep love we share’. This might be true for a couple of weeks but it doesn’t take long for apathy to set in, followed quickly by bitterness and finally leading to the apex of a strong relationship, hate. Get with the programme CJ. I’m a bit disappointed in CJ actually, as an egghead and quiz champion this was an opportunity for him to lay down some serious knowledge, edutainment for the masses, along the lines of ‘did you know Uganda borders Rwanda’, but alas he serves up the standard lovey dovey nonsense.
The video is shot outside Cliff Huxtable’s house and features some burrrrrrrds and bwoys in both modern day (in 1994) and sevs outfits shaking their booty, which I believe is now referred to as ‘twerking’ in modern parlance. I’d always assumed it was referring to a Yorkshire native’s place of employment as in;

‘Kes, where are you off to at this time you daft apath?’
‘Down pit twerk’

Seems I was wrong and it is in fact the most popular dance move since the ‘Dougie’, which I’ve never heard of either, it was all waltzing and foxtrots in my day. Not a lot of imagination has gone into the video, it’s hardly ‘Back to the Future’, in fact it’s not even up to Wu Tang standard when it comes to time travelling music videos. After my initial excitement about this song I realise a lot of it was rebound excitement after the Lauper fiasco really this is a bit meh.
Score: 6/10 – Gains a point for the fact my friends and I substituted the chorus for ‘you’ll get the rest of my glub’ when it was released.

Keith de Vivre
Choo Choo!
CJ’s back and rolling back into town looking to repeat the success of his 2 previous charters. “Sweets for my Sweet” of course smashed down in summer 1994 and – as covers go – I found it an absolute bloody delight. But more importantly, it reminds me of buying an unbelievably marked down Donnay tennis racket in the Stevenage Sport & Soccer in ’94. With England not being at the World Cup that year I got into tennis in a big way. It’s not something i’m proud of, but they were great days none the less.
DonnayRed94-1

I have, however, absolutely no memory of this follow up and even less idea what The Ceedge is singing about here. What I do know is that if you lifted his vocals and laid them over “Sweets for my Sweet” nobody would be any the wiser. Judging by the gloriously happy vibe throughout though, my guess is he’s singing about peace, love and mashing bits with ‘honeyz’. Or perhaps he’s telling us how they’re all having a great time on THE CLEANEST STREET IN AMERICA (seriously! look at it!) Or maybe, just maybe it’s a thinly veiled tale for us about how the subway train that bookends this video is actually THE CEEDGE’S VERY OWN TIME MACHINE!!
Bear with me doubters, the evidence is all here… 0.17s: The 70s/90s fashion split screen teaser of things to come; 0.21s: SUBLIMINAL FRO-DANCER!; 1.12: More split; before chucking all subterfuge out the window from 1.15 onwards with full on disco time-shiftin’. I’ve been to Flares and Reflex enough times to know that this is EXACTLY what the 70s looked like, which just hammers home for me Mr Lewis’s dimension-jumping credentials.

CJ BROWN
Dr. Emmet Brown discussing Ceedge yesterday.

Apparently Ceedge had a couple of other albums after this one, but little was really seen of him after 1995. Some people have suggested he went into music production, others say he started a BMW dealership in Ryslip. The truth is he’s spent the last 20 years rattling around space-time, dodging Libyans, getting into scrapes with Biff Tannen and trying not to accidentally f*ck his own mother.
I just hope he took time out of his busy schedule to ride the time-rail back to ’77 to apologise to the Emotions in person for this abomination. Or at least let me borrow it for a bit so I can go back to the Stevenage West Gate Centre, circa May 1994, and smash my ears in with a freshly purchased Donnay tennis bat so I won’t have to listen to this drivel 19 years later.
Score: Timelord or no Timelord, don’t mess with disco classics. 3/10

Norm
Thank you Jeezzuuss, we are back and so is one of my personal favourites, Mr CJ Lewis. Best of my love is a nicely blended summer “choon” mixing CJ’s love for strong, fast paced island rap and some pop-disco beats.
I think we’ve come through stronger now after a tough few weeks in the boardroom at Neggae Towers. The inclusion of Lauper, the shall-we-shall-we-not on China Black, what’s Neggae? What’s not Neggae? Mixed reviews and some generally tardy performances all around by some of the elders. All shaky stuff. I’m not going to name names but you know who you are. I say that in jest as I am essentially two weeks late writing this.
Anyway, back to CJ and the “Lewisettes” A great summer song, a true morale booster for the younger generation and not to mention a must at any BBQ.
The video is a touch on the urban side, possibly New York. The 70’s theme had me in a time warp and placed in the kitchen of Bisley Pavillion making a cheese sarnie. Full marks to the background crew in the vid, not much creativity from CJ. Well, let’s not dwell on the Visual. Let’s praise the back to neggae music we are presented with. Great pace from start to finish, excellent vocals / rapping from CJ, innovative theme with decent dancers. Overall, very enjoyable, not offensive and absolutely Malibu worthy.
Score: 7.5/10 for me. Solid work again CJ!

Jonny
Yes! CJ’s back, back again. CJ’s back, tell a friend! I’m not going to lie, I’ve started to struggle with the stale neg whiff that’s been hanging around in the air for what seems like a few months now. So seeing Mr Lewis on this weeks agenda was a welcome surprise!
Now, I’m normally not a big fan of covers. But I think he’s done a good job here. I don’t need to go into details about how great the original song is, its a classic, and I do think it is his recognition of this that helps him out. He’s left the heart and soul of the song intact, not really changing too much to the overall structure of it, but has added just the right amount of neg twist to it. Too little or too much of that stuff and it can really back fire on you.
Score: Its no Sweets for my Sweet, but is a fair offering from Seven James Lewis. 7/10 from me.

NEGGAE SCORE: 5.7

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