CARIBIA ALBUM REVIEW: Caribbean Holiday (Guyana, South America); Reggie Paul

(Originally published at OnePaper.com)

Reggie Paul has no trouble steeping himself in world rhythms; his family consists of four musical brothers who continue to rock the Caribbean, Canada, the continental U.S., and Europe. Paul now makes his home in Miami, Florida – and has developed an ardent following in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area. He especially enjoys entertaining in Key Largo and the Florida Keys, as they remind him so much of his birthplace (Guyana). Paul prides himself on mastering various styles, including Merengue, Jazz, Calypso, R&B, Light Rock, Bossa-Nova, and Bolero.

The LP Caribbean Holiday begins as one would expect: a perky rendition of ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’ reveals tight rhythms and Reggie’s easy baritone voice. The tune has become a staple of Caribbean performers, with its slight Reggae feel and breezy premise. Hard-core dancers will appreciate the drive of the ‘Dolla Wine’, a popular Soca/Dance tune made popular by Colin Lucas. Reggie is able to infuse the house rocker with his own smoothness while maintaining its dance edge. The hit tune ‘Bailamos’ gets similar treatment, enjoying a hint of a maracas run and sultry guitar solo.

‘I Just Called to Say I Love You’ was meant to be crooned, and Reggie practically whispers the song into the ear of his beloved. The strong Reggae feel of ‘Rivers of Babylon’ captures an upful charm with tight harmonies and percolating background keyboards. Feeding the spirit as ital feeds the body, this is ‘soul music’ at its best. ‘Na Na Na’ turns the mood on its heel and fills the dance floor in celebration of Mas. It requests the major components of Soca from a DJ bent on the frenetic DanseLypso craze: melody, lyrics and a beat you can wine to!

‘Palo Palo’ skips along as a delicate Merengue under Paul’s arrangements. Don’t let the smooth taste fool you: you will sweat through this one… then, prepare to be soothed with the now-classic ballad, ‘Always On My Mind’. Next up is a bright, jazzy interpretation of the mellow rocker ‘Wild World’, followed by a unique take on Bob Marley’s ‘Jammin’.

A bouncy ‘Shake Senora’ leads to ‘You Are the Sunshine of My Life’, the second Stevie Wonder tune on the CD. Then, Soca riddims return with ‘Moving to the Left’. Eighties Pop from the Police (‘Every Breath You Take’) is given Reggie’s signature vocal treatment – confident deviations from the melody that bespeak years of experience entertaining a diverse crowd. The proper end to Reggie Paul’s ‘Caribbean Holiday’ LP: ‘Bahama Lullaby’. But there’s no need to put this CD to bed – you can run right back to the top and enjoy ‘Caribbean Holiday’ as many times as needed… no travel agent required!

A Remar Production; to find out how to purchase Caribbean Holiday (CD #04200), visit Reggie Paul’s iTunes page.