I Know That Name
If it’s possible to illustrate in two words the ability to write songs, arrange, play various instruments, sustain a worthwhile career and make any ensemble sound fuller and better, then maybe ‘Paul Carrack’ will suffice. Yes, you have heard him on records and tours by Ace, Squeeze, Mike & The Mechanics, Roger Waters and many others but his ‘own name’ records are also entertaining and thoughtful. When you go and see a rock or pop band, it’s when they throw in a cover as an encore that you know what band they would all RATHER be in ( The Feeling would like to be Aha perhaps, going by their show in London last week) and although Carrack’s recordings are mostly own compositions, he chooses to kick things off here by performing a song always associated with Bobby Bland namely ‘Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City’, though Whitesnake always fared well with their version, of course. One of this site’s best friends in the US regards Carrack as a great writer AND an adept interpreter and you couldn’t seriously argue on that.
Themewise, Paul concerns himself with affairs of the heart, as often ruined by the head. Titles such as ‘It Ain’t Easy To Love Somebody’, ‘Love Is Thicker Than Water’ and ‘Am I In That Dream?’ underline this. On ‘I Don’t Want To Hear Any More’ Carrack has some bunch called The Eagles singing background and with a bit of work on their vocals they could possibly have a future in this business…
The players on the record include bassist Craig Young, guitar man RobMcnally, drummer Chad Cromwell and horn guys Wilson, Ware and Green ; also fine singing from Jackie Wilson (how did you manage that Paul ?) and Drea Rhenee. The production whether Carrack would entertain this notion or not is to these ears very ‘Michael McDonald’ or even Boz Scaggs. Which is only apt as Paul will appeal to fans of those artists in my humble opinion. Carrack holds a note here and there but avoids the Phil Collins whine ; every now and again there’s an echo of Lowell George, I venture. The horns are well-used without being particularly imaginative as regards arrangements.
Best song here might be the ache of ‘I Don’t Want Your Love’ which might have been written for for Bobby Bland ! Or the late Little Milton. It’s the Southern soul feel…
The song ‘If I Didn’t Love You’ should be FedExed to Mavis Staples forthwith.
A quality set that won’t hurt Carrack’s songsmith rep one little bit
Pete Sargeant www.fairhearing.co.uk