Raw & Uncut: Live in Paris

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Long-lauded for the passion of his live show, German reggae singer Patrice (born Patrice Bart-Williams) has finally released an album that showcases this, 2006's Raw & Uncut: Live in Paris. The CD version contains 12 live tracks plus one previously unreleased studio cut, "Don't Cry" (the DVD has 18 live tracks and four bonus ones), the majority of them from Patrice's last record, 2005's Nile, including "Africanize Dem," "Victoriously," "Rememba," and "Today" (which is called "Change Today" here), though there are two songs from How Do You Call It? ("Music" and "Sunshine") as well as two from his record with Silly Walks Movement ("Everyday Good" -- called simply "Everyday" -- and "Feel It Now"). The singer is backed by his Shashamani Band, who complement his voice well, and add elements of funk, soul, blues, rock, and hip-hop to their reggae-centric sound. Patrice is clearly heavily inspired by Bob Marley, and it shows, not only in his intonation and phrasing but also in his songs. "Everyday" starts out a bit like "Redemption Song" and turns into "No Woman, No Cry" at the end, but he has enough of his own self in there to keep things from becoming a tribute show. He sounds like a neo-soul singer sometimes and a rock singer others, and even has someone in his band quote a line from Grandmaster Flash's "The Message" in "Gun." As it is a live show, there are a few songs that drag on for a while, specifically "Uncried" -- which introduces pretty much everyone Patrice has ever worked with over his slow acoustic guitar, and is a little unnecessary considering "Soulstorm" does the same thing, and is much more upbeat and fun -- but the energy of his performance is captured well on Raw & Uncut, and the album should be pleasing both for fans of the artist who've never seen him live before and for those who already have but want to relive the experience.

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