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RAHSAAN PATTERSON – After Hours
The One For Me - I Always Find Myself - So Hot - Burnin' - Loving You - The Best - Don't Run So Fast - You Make Life So Good - Yeah Yeah Yeah - Separate - April's Kiss - Straighten It Out
(UK Dome, 2004)

I love Rahsaan Patterson.  There's no two ways about it.  Since he burst onto the scene in the spring of 1997 along with sidekick Jamey Jaz I have basked in this guy's warm music and I love his sweet vocal style and his head rooted in today but whose musical ideals seeded in the 1970s and 1980s.  What Rahsaan does well is make soul-satisfying happy, good-times music.  This heady mixture is what is missing from today's black music.  For uptempo material, for instance, my heart is still in the 1980s.  I constantly dig out songs such as Finis Henderson's "Skip To My Lou", Willie Collins' "Where You Gonna Be Tonight" and The Strangers "Step Into My Life" because they are feel good and happy.  This is the feeling I get from Rahsaan Patterson and I had been waiting on the CD for well over 18 months. 
I had heard some teasers from this last summer on Internet Radio and wanted MORE.  The reason it was delayed, I had read, is that MCA could not decide upon which was to be the initial single release.  When you look at the complete DRIVEL that is laughingly called R&B in the major label arena today you can see why they could not pigeon-hole any track on here to format for the clone-based merry-go-round.  The result?  MCA dropped the set and Dome here in the UK grabbed it before it could hit the floor.  Well, hats off to Dome and underpants down to MCA!
This CD is truly magnificent, bar a few inclusions which are not produced by Jamey Jaz, Rahsaan himself or … newcomer Van Hunt.  I have reviewed Van Hunt's CD for the printed magazine only, and did not appear online.  Van Hunt is a musical GIANT and Capitol must have credit for signing him.  His own CD was a super mix of styles, making a statement that he will NOT be pidgeon-holed into any format and can therefore create whatever style of music he so desired.  This could be counter-productive, but what Van Hunt has done on this album is throw him fully into the soulful vibe and his style matches that of Rahsaan very, very well.  In fact, it is almost seamless.
I suggest skipping the first two, bland, openers and diving headfirst into the joyful party tune, "So Hot".  So hot it is, with summer coming this song courses through the veins and the grey matter resulting in the critic in me to shout "YES!"  This is just blindingly good and this will have you gyrating around the living room, dancefloor or armchair.  The FUNKY, early 80s sounding "Burnin'" follows this theme and is another song that is simply to-die-for.  This, dear folks is modern soul music at its best - and you can't get much better than that.  Al I need now is the new Eric Benét CD to come out and I will be in heaven! 
A similar story can be told about the rest of this CD.  I just love the positivity that he exudes.  A noteworthy ballad comes in the form of "The Best" which is a beautiful Stevie Wonder styled mid 70s number.  Let's hope Stevie's new album can meet this standard … though I have a horrible feeling it will not.  If you so desire strings, flutes and all manner of instruments you will find them here - the melancholy "Don't Run Fast" is a song dedicated to Rahsaan's grandmother and is one of THOSE lost songs that I mourned whilst discussing Johnny Mathis' "I'm Coming Home".  Please do not overlook the "hidden" song which is tagged onto track 11, "April's Kiss".  "Straighten It Out" is ESSENTIAL and one of the highlights of the CD.
Thank you Dome, thank you Rahsaan, Jamey and Van Hunt.  You have no idea how important your music is today.
-Barry Towler

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