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Oneness of Juju


Space Jungle Luv




Oneness of JujuLock in the headphones, load in Oneness of Juju's Space Jungle Luv, and take a trip to the 70's and beyond. This is remastered release of the 1976 album fuses funk and R&B laid down to African percussion. The first track, 'River Luv Rite', plays on this theme thoroughly along with a catchy riff. It doesn't stop there. 'River Luv Rite' contains a hint of what is to come.

This is not your typical head-bopping funk album. There is another element that keeps this apart from the others. Oneness of Juju's frontman, James 'Plunky' Branch, previous endeavors include stints in New York's avante-garde jazz scene in the early 70's. Sun Ra's avante-garde/cosmic modal jazz comes to mind when listening Space Jungle Luv (not that the name of the album gave it away). These jazz tangents play an integral part to the unique etherealness of the album. This play between the funk and jazz keeps the music active while it transports you to the here and now to the wherever and whenever and back again (see 'Space Jungle Funk').

Space Jungle Luv also introduces the vocals of Lady Eka Ete (Jacqueline Holoman). Her strong, soulful voice is a beautiful accompaniment to Plunky' s Oneness. She acts as another instrument in this musical cocktail, as in 'Follow Me' and 'River Luv Rite'. Although, I think her role should have remained just that - an accompaniment. 'Love's Messenger' displays her vocal wares to the forefront, but the sugary sweet lyrics just exaggerates what the music is already conveying. Thankfully, they included an instrumental version of 'Love's Messenger'.

Space Jungle Luv still contains plenty of Bootsy-esque funk to please the true junkie such as 'Got to Be Right On It'. 'African Rhythms Chant' plays out like a Starsky and Hutch chase scene. And who doesn't love that?

---Edward Jose, August 27, 2002