Pato Banton

Go Pato

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Go Pato is a live recording of Pato Banton in Brazil. The album is full of tourist reggae that has very little to do with the Jamaican roots reggae tradition. The songs are sunshine reggae that you would expect to hear on a resort vacation. Many of the tracks sound like they could be commissioned for use in after-school specials. Positivity has to be handled delicately, or the music ceases to be tolerable to English speakers. Banton sings, "We are the Now Generation, it is up to us to change the situation." The positive vibe is grating. Christian missionaries would find these songs over the top. Not all reggae needs to be measured against Bounty Killer's "Warlord Vex," but this album sounds too much like a suburban father's idea of what reggae is. Banton goes through all the motions that a reggae singer is supposed to. He calls out, "One God for all the people," "Roots, rock, reggae!" then later, "And in a dubwise stylin!" and a small dub interlude fills out a song with a few echoed effects. Fittingly, Banton covers Bob Marley's "Jamming," making his style look more and more like an attempt at becoming a crossover success. The backing music has a distinct late-'80s reggae feel that stays far away from the '70s roots sound. Even the often toasted early-'80s rhythms are absent. Banton's MCing style mixes up different rhythms and shines brightest on "Gwarn." He entertains the crowd with a changeup of styles. He sings and rhymes over the tracks with skill that is good but not comparable to legends like Yellowman and Eek-a-Mouse. From the crowd reaction evident on the recording, the Brazilian fans are crazy for Banton's style, but as an album Go Pato doesn't have anything more to offer than a weak interpretation of reggae.

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