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4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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Hmmm. I really like Paul Rodgers' work and I've always thought him a very fine singer. I still own and play my old vinyl records of Free and Bad Company with great pleasure, and I was hoping for great things from this album. I'm afraid I didn't get them.

The man can still sing fantastically well. His voice doesn't sound that different to me from the way it did 40 years and more ago, and there are some moments of vocal brilliance here. In I've Been Loving You Too Long the held discord which slurs up to the money note is terrific, for example. But…the whole thing all feels so generic and (I hate to say it of a hero of mine) ordinary. Perhaps it's just me, but it all sounds as though they've chosen a few "classic" songs, hired in a session band, singers, a horn section and a safe arranger and producer and made an inoffensive, uninspiring album.

I don't want to be too critical because there's nothing actually *wrong* with any of it, but I really feel that Paul Rodgers is wasted in this sort of stuff. He can invest a song with real brooding passion and genuine excitement but, apart from the odd moment, this just feels like another of those Great American Songbook-type things, which I've had more than enough of now. For example, the first time I heard it I genuinely wondered whether Walk On By was ever going to end, and it hasn't improved at all on repeated listening. A song like this which everyone knows in a single, classic version needs something really special to make recording it again worthwhile and this simply doesn't have it – it's well sung but pretty bland, the arrangement sounds like a million others and it just meanders on and on at the end without actually going anywhere. I feel much the same about most of the album – in Born Under A Bad Sign the line "If it wasn't for bad luck I wouldn't have no luck at all" has the air of someone at a comfortable dinner party complaining that their Waitrose delivery was late this morning, complete with soulless, by-numbers lead guitar.

I'm sorry to be harsh, but Paul Rodgers is still a great singer and is better than this. It's not much more than inoffensive background music and isn't worthy of someone of his class.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 27 January 2014
Paul Rodgers was one of the greatest singers of his generation with both Free and Bad Company and he really stood out in an era otherwise dominated by lead guitarists. Although both were `rock' bands they were both heavily influenced by the blues and, unusually for the time, also soul with both bands combining catchy hooks with a funky, relaxed backbeat. This record sees Paul recording in Willie Mitchell's old Royal Studios in Memphis and using several of the original musicians who played on many of the classics recorded there, including Anne Peebles' "I can't stand the rain".

The songs are southern soul and blues, not just from Mitchell's Hi label but also from nearby Stax, including songs by Otis Redding, Sam and Dave and Albert King. Unfortunately this material has been over-exposed in recent years mainly because of the Blues Brothers but hearing an excellent singer like Paul singing these songs makes you realise both how good the songs actually are and how good a singer Mr. Rodgers really is. It isn't just his trademark slow burners like Albert King's "Down don't bother me" and Otis Redding's "I've been loving you too long", he also brings a real swing to the uptempo "Any ole way" and "It's growing". I was a bit disappointed that Paul and the musicians didn't do anything radically different with the songs but you can't deny the authenticity and professionalism of the backing and the way that Paul's voice perfectly fits with this material. He even manages to bring something new to an over-played song like "Born under a bad sign" with an understated reading that is much closer to Albert King's original than some of the more modern rocked-up versions.

Be sure to get the `deluxe edition' with the three extra tracks including a Staxed-up version of the old Free song "Walk in my shadow" (although the sax solo is no substitute for Paul Kossof's guitar) and a DVD featuring footage of the recording sessions.
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on 7 February 2014
Paul Rodgers is without doubt a gifted singer and you can hear why on this collection of soul cover versions. There is nothing radical here just straight ahead covers sung with feeling and depth, backed by great musicians who performed on some of the originals adding to the authenticity of the project. Stand-outs for me are Otis Redding's "That's How Strong My Love Is" and "I've Been Loving You Too Long" along with a beautiful version of Sam Cook's "Wonderful World" (Deluxe Edition only). Another highlight is Albert King's classic blues standard "Born Under a Bad Sign" a smouldering smokey blues tune if ever there was one, it is a delight. The only let down is "Walk On By" which to be frank is dull and lifeless, and goes on too long, the rest of the album is really good though.

For me personally i thought Rodgers should have done this kind of thing a long time ago he always had the voice to carry this off and it has clearly been a labour of love, these are great songs sung by a great singer.

Anyone expecting this to sound at all like Free, Bad Company or heaven forbid Queen+Paul Rodgers might not like this but if you have an interest in 60's Stax or Soul you may find plenty to enjoy.
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on 27 January 2014
Although this is a bit 'safe' for Paul Rodgers, I still really like it. Pauls voice is still really strong and sounds just as good as when I first listened to him 40 years ago. I had been listening to my old Bad Company vinyls recently so thought it would be interesting to hear this. I agree with the previous reviewer that at times he sounds like Van the Man but hey Van's a great singer. Lovely, I'd really like to see him live.
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on 21 February 2014
Opinion is split on this - and I fall in the camp that finds it quite a disappointment. Paul I think tries too hard to "sing" rather than letting rip. When you think of what Otis did to some of the selections here, this disc seems a little pointless. Well it's ok but decidedly MOR. Good try I guess.
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on 30 January 2014
Okay, first of all I really like Paul Rogers in his FREE days and Bad Company days and YES the guy can still sing. I was however quite disappointed with this album. His vocals are spot on and the backing band are really good. That's not the problem. For me the problem lies in the choice of music. I think the material he chose for this album was too high profile and because of this as I listened to the tracks I could almost hear the originals 'in my mind' and didn't feel that anything new had been added. There were two tracks I liked, probably because I wasn't very familiar with the original versions. Having said that, for anyone who is not familiar with the originals this would be good introduction to some really great songs.
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on 17 June 2015
I am a great Paul Rodgers fan and this CD is Paul singing his favourites. More a reflective CD and don't we all go there over 60 but an odd upbeat song with a bit of brass would liven it up. Best song for me is " I thank you" and after a few listens the Roger's voice grows on you but not bad value at £7.
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on 2 February 2014
I really wanted to love this, a combination of one of my favourite signers tackling some of my favourite music. No doubt that Rodgers has a great voice which still cuts it. However the album is all a bit dull and uninspiring. If you want to hear Rodgers knock it out the park, listen to Free or the first couple of Bad Company albums. If you want to hear these tunes done as they should be, listen to the originals. This doesn't come close I'm afraid.
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on 27 January 2014
I was a little surprised when I listened to this album for the first time. I thought that Paul would go back to his roots after his encounter with Queen. This album is good, its a little in the same vein as Van Morrison and I think there is a little bit of Hughie Lewis and the News in there somewhere?

First track 'I thank you' is a upbeat number with some blues undertones the third is a brave reworking of the classic 'I can't stand the rain' this works well showcasing the full range of Paul's vocal range. Track four 'I've been loving you too' is a more bluesy number with Paul sounding a little like Van the Man? Track six is another reworking of a classic 'Walk on by' this works well with backing singers sounding like Dionne Warwick.

This is an interesting album and a departure from his Free days, I will need to listen to it a couple of times and then maybe edit this review, worth listening but a little different
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on 27 November 2015
As someone who enjoyed the music of Free and Bad Company in his teens and then later developed a love of Memphis Soul this collection interested me. Was it a marriage made in heaven? Sadly I think not. For me it never hits any heights. The singing and musicianship is good throughout but never inspired. I think it may have been a mistake to cover so many well known songs.These versions don't match up to the originals. That's not a criticism of Paul Rodgers as such. I'd expect the same result if, and I know it's hypothetical, Sam Cooke, Otis Redding or James Carr had attempted 'My Brother Jake'. Perhaps if all involved had looked for some less well known songs from the genre and Rodgers had spent more time 'living' with those songs before presenting the ones best suited to his voice and delivery then this could have been a really good offering. I'd expect Rodgers fans to enjoy this more than Memphis Soul fans. Go ahead and make up your own mind. The release with the bonus DVD may add sufficient value to justify the purchase and push this closer to the 4-star category.
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