The “man with the golden voice” is back with his 17th solo album. Now over four decades into his career, Paul Carrack is an everyman of music. He is a songwriter, session musician, and has been a member of a number of successful bands. In addition to being the keyboardist in Roxy Music for three years, he has been the vocalist in such bands and on such songs as Ace (“How Long”), Squeeze (“Tempted”), and Mike and the Mechanics (“The Living Years” and “Silent Running”).
If anything, Carracks voice has improved with the passage of time. It has acquired a wonderful soulful patina and it is on display in his newest release, Rain Or Shine.
Half of his new release is original tunes and the other half are classic covers with three being a Ray Charles salute.
The album begins with three original compositions that rank as some of the best songs he has produced in years. ‘Stepping Stone,” “That’s All That Matters To Me,” and “One In A Million” all serve as vehicles for his vocals, which just wash over you. His intermittent use of strings and brass serve to supplement his vocals. They all fall into the category of blue-eyed soul.
As good as his originals are; his judicious selection of cover songs is better. His Ray Charles suite of “You Don’t Know Me,” “Come Rain Or Come Shine,” and “Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I)” would have made Charles proud. “You Don’t Know Me” is a one man tour-de-force as he plays all the instruments. He ups the tempo and smooths out the vocal, which gives the song a personal touch while remaining true to the original. The Harold Arlen/Johnny Mercer tune “Come Rain Or Come Shine” has been recorded hundreds of times but he channels Ray Charles’ version with a swinging rendition. “Hard Tines (No One Does It Better Than I) contains a gritty vocal and a layered sound.
Perhaps the best track is “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want To Be Right,” which contains a smoldering vocal, which continues to build throughout the performance.
Paul Carrack has created an album that fits his style and personality. Rain Or Shine is a worthy addition to his musical legacy.