On My Mind

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He's got what may be the dumbest stage name in reggae music, and he's not quite as good a singer as he and his producers think he is. But the stage name doesn't matter and he is a very fine singer, and on his second album he comes out swinging and only stumbles a couple of times. The stumbles aren't all his fault: "And So I Will Wait for You" fails partly because of his slightly off-pitch singing and partly because of the strange vocal mix; "Give Thanks for What You've Got" fails because of its shrill preachiness; and "I'm in Love with You" fails because it's just so utterly generic in its tired loverman platitudes. But his combination version of "Always on My Mind" (with Sean Paul on chat duty), his duet with Marcia Griffiths on a version of the Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville hit "All My Life," and the soca/hip-hop fusion of "Give It Up for My Baby" are all lots of fun, as are the tracks on which his own voice is richly layered in background harmonies -- note especially the lovely "This Time I Promise." And when he recycles the "Baby Why" rhythm on "My Heart," the effect is charming and sweetly nostalgic. This isn't a perfect album, but very few are. Recommended.

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