Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1101

Welcome To B&S



Paul Carrack: Good Feeling (Carrack UK)

Paul Carrack CD Cover Pic



Rate this Album

UK release date 24.09.2012

What’s a review of an album by Paul Carrack doing in THE number one blues and soul magazine? Simple; it’s all about the music. The world’s oldest black music magazine prides itself on having broad tastes and knowing our readers do too.

And as Mr Carrack is actually a soul singer, he belongs here in the same way James Morrison did too.

Paul may be better known for his commercial exploits as a voice for hire on Mike and The Mechanics “The Living Years,”and “Over My Shoulder,” fronting Squeeze on their classic “Tempted,” and penning/singing the Ace winner “How Long,” but on his solo stuff and his concerts, this Sheffield boy keeps it real and mega soulful in heaps.

Having written big songs for others including The Eagles, he has collaborated with BB King, Elton John, Ringo, Roxy Music, Roger Waters and many more. He keeps good company and has earned respect from his contemporaries as a sublime vocalist, a multi-instrumentalist and as a cracking songwriter.

BBC4 will devote a documentary to him and his career on October 12th. His latest offering is “Good Feeling,” a dozen blue-eyed soul tracks, on a CD that’d sit snugly into any discerning collection next to Al Green, Marvin, Otis, Wilson, Percy and anyone else of that genre you care to mention. It shares its core values with all the iconic Stax, Atlantic, Motown and more obscure soul labels: Honesty and passion.

This is no conscious hunt purely for commercial success. This is a guy who HAS to sing and HAS to stay true to his influences. I have seen Paul live once, when he supported Supertramp a few years ago. My old mate Jeremy plays bass for him, but I was surprised at just how soulful his voice was and how American his music sounds, to be honest. His own singles have a permanent reservation on the playlist at Radio 2. They love him. His theatre tours sell out year in, year out - guaranteed box office. Being honest, I’ve always found him a bit safe and middle of the road though, but have always appreciated his talent at the same time.

Until now, and this CD. This is not about being safe. This is about sheer class. About one of the best white soul voices in the UK. "Paul Carrack is a man who in my humble opinion, rarely gets the recognition he deserves. Which he has surely earned for such an enormous, innate vocal talent and sublime song writing craftsmanship. Probably one of the best white soul singers this country has ever produced. If you do not think my last statement is factually accurate, go check out his new CD "Good Feeling," then think again.” Who said that? Answer:I did! I mean it too.

The title track opens proceedings, a song all over Radio 2 for the last few months. An infectious hook in a Sam Cooke vibe. Then “Marmalade Moon” which was penned with Chris Difford. This is a bit Robert Cray-ish (not Cray Fish!) with a laid back vocal, under-stated horn parts and a pretty decent song. “Nothing Without You,” puts me in mind of Average White Band in style and vocal delivery. Fine by me. In the pocket drum track, funky Cropper-esque rhythm guitar and a bed of Hammond the track sits on, plus a nice Hammond solo.

Like on all the tracks here, production is not too busy and the vocal has room for us to hear the wonderful phrasing. Would make a strong single with a radio edit, and my bet is it will be covered by others in the future. As will “I Can Hear Ray,” which has radio hit written all over it. Co-written with Charlie “Pilot Of The Airwaves” Dore. A tribute to Mr Ray Charles. A sweet song with a sweet soul vocal. I like how Paul goes through the vocal gear shift to stick it into first when he wants to pull right back, and knock it into overdrive when he wants to go for it. So often singers start in 5th and belt it out, and miss out light and shade.

“Long Ago,” is a chilled ballad. “Make It Right,” is a mid tempo affair, where Paul delivers an ultra-controlled vocal, with his natural and subtle vibrato adding value to this Lennon/McCartney style song. A beautiful song, written by Alex and Rolf Tinlin, who were the support act on the last Carrack tour and on the next one too. There are some bluesy brush strokes on harmonica from Paul, a gifted and thoughtful harp player. He plays most of the instruments himself on the CD, with son Jack on drums as he is in the road band.

If Paul was black, about 30 years older and from Memphis or the deep South, he’d have been hailed a living legend long ago. As it is, he’s white, 61 and from Sheffield, England.

There are singers and there are vocalists. A singer learns some words, opens his or her gob and belts them out. A vocalist has an instrument, and learns how to use it to lift the words off the page and sell the emotion and truth of the story, so we really believe it. Paul Carrack is most definitely a vocalist.

“If I Should Fall Behind,” is a gentle Springsteen-penned ballad, acoustic based, Floyd Kramer/Bruce Hornsby style piano solo, and a strong piece of writing. The mid-tempo track, “From Now On,” is in Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham territory. Very much “Dark End Of The Street,” vibes that could have been cut in Muscle Shoals several decades ago. It was written by Nick Lowe, and a version appeared on Paul’s LP “Suburban Voodoo,” 30 years ago.

The current track getting played to death on Radio 2 is “I Don’t Want To Lose Your Love.” Would have sat well on the Philly International label, with its Spinners flavours. Superb vocal phrasing and a nice hook.

The second single “Time To Move On, “gets blatant Motown treatment, with its drum sound and horn arrangement. Stevie’s restrained “Fingertips,” tendencies on Paul’s harmonica parts here. “When My Little Girl Is Smiling, “ the Goffin and King Drifters’ smash, (or Jimmy Justice before them and also Craig Douglas did a version) gets the Carrack treatment. Nice Everleys harmonies.

The album ends with an emotional ballad about a new born baby. “A Child Is Born,” jazz legend Thad Jones’ song, guaranteed to get played at Christenings across the land. Paul adopts a slight Nat King Cole timbre to his vocal. It works very well on this tear jerker.

This album follows his 2010 offering, “A Different Hat,” made with The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. “Good Feeling,” is a tad ballad heavy for me, or put another way, I love his up-tempo soul stuff and would have liked more of that style. Personal taste. But Mr Carrack is a singer’s singer and with the right song, he is up there with the best of them.

There are some songs here that make a bigger impact than others, and some are a better vocal vehicle. But overall the choices, by the artist who was also the man who produced it, were sound. But THAT voice….. as I said before, not many white, British singers are half as soulful as this guy, the genre such a natural fit for him, even though he is perhaps not that well known for that style of material.

But It is also all about the feel, a vital part of soul music. It should make you feel good. Yeah, a good feeling……………….

• Paul Carrack’s UK tour kicks off in October in Derby, and runs through to 28th November. Then January through to March 2013.

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

Join the B&S Mailing List

Blues and Soul on Twitter