Not over for J C LodgeMonday, September 20, 2021
BY HOWARD CAMPBELL
It's been 40 years since J C Lodge announced herself to Jamaican audiences with Someone Loves You Honey, an uptempo reggae cover of a country song by Charley Pride.
The London-born singer is still recording, though people in some quarters have long buried her and her career.
“We, my producer/manager/husband Errol [O'Meally] and I are always working on something. It's our raison d'Ítre — our purpose in life. It's frustrating that many people may think I've retired or even died,” said Lodge from her home in London. “My fans who look me up online know that I've done 12 albums and many singles over the past 40 years. And there's much more to come, if we're given the gift of continued good health.”
Over, a song she did for Lionking Muzik out of Florida, is currently number one on the Foundation Radio Network Chart in New York. It is one of eight songs on the Divorce Court rhythm.
Lodge, 62, has done her share of rhythm-driven songs, including the popular Telephone Love on producer Gussie Clarke's Rumours beat. After all these years it's still hard for her to determine whether a song or rhythm will be a hit.
“More of a feeling that it could potentially be a hit. I know when I've written a good song, I recognise a strong rhythm when I hear it, and I can feel when my song sits well on the rhythm. But good songs on strong rhythms don't necessarily become hits — I'm sure many of my fellow artistes can testify to this,” she said. “The producer can play a part in terms of his past achievements and connections, and also promotion is the key. No matter how great your song and rhythm is, if no one is hearing it, seeing your video, [or] seeing ads highlighting it, you alone will enjoy it and it'll remain unknown.”
The Divorce Court rhythm was released in April. It also has songs by Maxi Priest, Gappy Ranks, and Pressure Buss Pipe.
Over marks a comeback to the charts for Lodge, who returned to the UK 20 years ago. At the time she and her husband had built a promising series of children's projects that included songs, books and television programmes.
They are still involved in that market, but Lodge notes she remains active as a recording artiste, with at least three albums worth of material, co-produced by her and O'Meally, at their disposable.
Someone Loves You Honey was a big seller in Jamaica and Europe. Though Joe Gibbs is credited as its producer, session guitarist Willie Lindo actually directed Lodge in the studio.
She had follow-up hits with a cover of Leo Sayer's Love You More Than I Can Say and Make it up With You.
At one stage Lodge was signed to the American independent company Tommy Boy Records, for which she recorded one album.
While she is proud of her work in the 1980s and 1990s, Lodge wants to continue making her mark with songs like Over.
“For me, it's a need to express myself and use the tools I've been given for a productive purpose, so that I feel, in the end, that I've spent my life in a meaningful, useful way. I've always admired singer-songwriters, and that's what I've been working all these years towards being,” she said. “Of my original pieces, Over has received the most attention, so far. I'm still working on coming up with more originals that can't be overlooked.”