Top critical review
38 of 42 people found this helpful
on 27 January 2014
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.