UK troubadour Paul Carrack has enjoyed a long and garlanded career. His CV includes stints with Roxy Music and Squeeze and he was the lead voice on anthems like Ace’s ‘How Long’ and Mike and the Mechanics’ ‘Living Years’. Then there’s a terrific solo career – a slew of bestselling albums, a catalogue of quality songs (including the Eagles’ hit, ‘Love Will Keep Us Alive’) and regular sell-out concert tours. Hot off a tour with Eric Clapton, Paul’s in the middle of his own nation-wide tour right now and no doubt thrilling packed houses with songs from this, his latest long player… and ‘Soul Shadows’ certainly has plenty of thrilling music moments…. and from our perspective none more exciting than ‘Sweet Soul Legacy’. Carrack, of course, has worked across a number of genres, but he’s always been a soul boy at heart and this particular track indicates why. Over a wonderful four minutes the Sheffield tunesmith articulates why soul is his music of choice: “Soul music will never die, It can make you happy, can make you cry. I’m just thankful I was around to appreciate that soulful sound”… aren’t we all?
And the album title, of course, indicates where Paul’s musical allegiances lie and throughout he illustrates his mastery of the blue-eyed soul genre. You want instant proof…. look no further than the wonderful ballad ‘ Let Me Love Again’… a proper tune! ‘That’s How I Feel’ is another pleasing ballad – just a hint of country soul about it. But there’s much more to Paul Carrack’s music than songs of loves won and lost. Our man has concern for social issues too and here one of the cuts, ‘Bet Your Life’ tackles the problem of gambling – more specifically how high stakes gambling machines (those found in betting offices) can ruin decent lives… I’m guessing Paul knows more than one individual in his Northern heartlands decimated by this legal iniquity!
Heavy stuff indeed so let’s finish the review by pointing you to something more optimistic … the album’s real highlight. Paul Carrack is a consummate songwriter, but he also knows how to pick good tunes to cover and his albums are peppered with his lovely versions of classics. Here he chooses to cover Bobby Bland’s ‘To Share Your Love With Me’. It’s an old soul chestnut of course – oft covered , most notably by Aretha and the Fantastic Four in their Ric Tic days. And you know, Paul’s simple, uncluttered version is every bit as good as those, proving once again that this son of Sheffield is England’s premier blue-eyed soul man.