Gingermon - Baked To Perfection
Can you say, "Yeah, mon"? After listening to this release, I know I can safely say Gingermon. Gingermon, a.k.a. Tim Gandee, has put out a playful and heartfelt follow up to his debut in 2017. Baked To Perfection, shows that Gingermon has been practicing the recipe for success. The trial and error on his first release have helped him find the ingredients here, to make a real tasty treat for your ears. The first thing you here on this new release is the invitation and motto, "Come listen to Gingermon, Irish reggae for your soul". There is a lot to unpack in that line. This really is an Irish American showing his love for his chosen brand of musical expression. He does it as well as any reggae artist I have ever heard. Including Bob Marley… That is right, take the wax from yo' ears and put it on a turntable… I said Bob Marley. It comes in the first track "Babylon Say Freeze", featuring Brian Marsh. A bouncy groove, with some way cool guitar figure, that shuts the door on the notion that this is just some guy doing his own version of cultural appropriation.
Gingermon has a real insight and depth, and honesty, in his love for this music that really shines through. As a huge aficionado of reggae and dub, I can hear that Tim has studied and learned from the masters. He sounds like the kind of guy that has every Trojan Records release in his collection, plus the rest of the Studio One and Ark Studio releases as well. Nowhere is that as evident on this album than on the track Oh, No. This is one of the best cuts I have heard in 5 years, let alone the last year. Great melody and vocal delivery, that advances the essence of reggae, without resorting to being a carbon copy. One of my least favorite forms of reggae was the dancehall imitators. They took all the fun and creativity out of commercial reggae and they just became sloganeering voices yelling at the listener. Where you'd have people like Shaggy and Sean Paul, just barking their "#metoo" lawsuit fantasies at us. Gingermon reverses that concept here and gets back to real melody and songwriting. He still incorporates the dancehall and dub ideas but he puts them in the context of a real song.
Geographical location also plays a part in what makes this album so interesting. In reggae, the lyrics are so tied to the sunshine, warmth and Island feeling, plus the odd political slogan thrown in, that it tends to create a one-dimensional world. This is the Jamaican world. Here, this Ohio native brings his feelings to the fore on a track like One Track Mind, which uses the reggae context to allow Gingermon to say "Can't see no light out my door, seem like the sun won't shine no more. It's just another winter's day". He kicks in the chorus with the couplet, "I got a one-track mind for the summertime". After a Cleveland winter, I would too. That is an artist expressing his own thoughts about his own world. It is not a suburban kid pretending he is a Jamaican artist. That is what really good artists do. I am sure that there will be haters pointing fingers as they are wont to do. Screw them, this guy is the real deal and I have 13 tracks on this killer record to prove it. Like John Lennon once said in his way, "Give peace a chance", I will say, "Give Gingermon‘s Baked To Perfection a listen and a chance". I think it could be one of the most satisfying records you will listen to. My bet is, it will sound twice a good in the summer as well.