Shaggie Williams

No Man Perfect

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On first listen, this fine roots reggae singer could be mistaken for Dennis Brown in his prime. This album is something of a mystery -- it clearly consists of recordings made at different times with various backing bands, but few details are provided in the liner notes. Williams is equally comfortable in a traditional roots reggae setting and a more modern, computer-rhythm mode, though he tends to perform most impressively in the former style. The best songs on this album are those that sound like they involved a live band: the uplifting "Rise Again," the title track, and a nice arrangement of the Lord's Prayer, as well as a fun nursery-rhyme arrangement that comes near the end of the program. He also acquits himself well on "Woman Work Hard" and "New Girl," but the electronic rhythm tracks are less compelling (although the equally high-tech "Mosquito Curfew" succeeds brilliantly). The album's only serious misstep is the dull and ponderous "Praise Jah Jah" (mysteriously credited to Eryka Badu in the liner notes) that closes it. Highly recommended overall.