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4.5 out of 5 stars94
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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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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 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 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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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 July 2014
There are many artists that need no introduction or have a body of work that speaks for itself.
Then there are the truly great and timeless songs, including those recorded for the STAX Records label, champions of Memphis and Southern Soul in the 60’s and 70’s.

If you put the former and a selection of the latter together you’re probably on to a good thing; in that respect Paul Rodgers and The Royal Sessions lives up to musical expectations.

Paul Rodgers is arguably the best of the classic-era/ first generation rock singers still performing – while Rodgers never had an extended range his bluesy baritone and mid-tenor pipes, depth of vocal, musical intelligence and lyrical phrasing make the voice of legendary bands Free and Bad Company one of the true greats.

All of which means a bluesy swagger is added to, and a soulful delivery is produced on, the ten numbers that feature on The Royal Sessions (the album was recorded at The Royal Studio in Memphis) kicking off with the Sam & Dave classic 'I Thank You,' penned by David Porter and Isaac Hayes.
The song, complete with horns and sassy female backing from Royal Singers Sharisse Norman, Shontelle Norman and Stefanie Bolton, carries an immediate, authentic and live feel, as do all the numbers.

But then that’s almost a given when you consider the quality of arrangements, singer, veteran session musicians used (including STAX 'House Band' musicians Leroy and Charles Hodges) and that all the backing tracks were recorded live and on to analogue tape.

It’s certainly not all about the voice of Paul Rodgers – Charles Hodges throws a great organ solo across the blues of Albert King’s 'Down Don’t Bother Me;' the Royal Horns feature on many of the numbers; the Burt Bacharach/ Hal David classic 'Walk On By' features The Royal Singers and an interesting 2am blues bar with strings arrangement.

But there is no debate who the featured artist is; Paul Rodgers simply shines on the Otis Redding blues ballad 'I’ve Been Loving You Too Long' and brings soulful and sincere Memphis and Motown musicality to numbers such as 'Any Ole Way' (another Redding number) and 'It’s Growing' (by The Temptations) respectively.

Any criticisms are minor and relate to the fact that, at the end of the day, what we have here is yet another covers album with a couple of obligatory inclusions.
'I Can’t Stand the Rain' is almost mandatory for a STAX/ Motown tribute but, fortunately and obviously, has more in common with the original Anne Peebles version than Eruption’s 70’s disco variant or Tina Turner’s 80’s synth-pop rock hit.
Similarly the many-times-covered 'Born Under a Bad Sign,' written by Booker T. Jones and William Bell, makes for a predictable choice but suits Paul Rodgers and his pipes perfectly.

But then the songs covered by Rodgers are some of his favourite tracks, or are numbers that originally influenced the singer; the affection between vocalist and song is loud (and soft), bluesy and clear.

For those that Can’t Get Enough of the Bad Company man doing STAX, the Amazon variant of the album features three bonus tracks: a rock 'n' roll horns take of Sam Cooke’s 'Shake,' a STAX arranged re-record of Free’s 'Walk In My Shadow' that’s better than the original and the Sam Cooke classic 'Wonderful World.'

The latter is a fittingly titled closing number when music and sympathetic vocal delivery is as good as this.

Four Stars for the standard release; Five Stars for the Amazon 'Bonus Tracks' format.
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on 15 May 2014
Life long fan of Paul's work and seen him 2 times, and live, no one sings it better than him.

Ok, I do NOT agree with BluesRockReview's opinion that......

"Can’t Miss Tracks
I Can’t Stand the Rain
I’ve Been Loving You Too Long
That’s How Strong My Love Is
Born Under a Bad Sign"

Apart from Born Under A Bad Sign, which a fairly good version, but no way as good as the version on Paul's 1993 album Muddy Water Blues: A Tribute to Muddy Waters.

I Can’t Stand the Rain - A bit boring and Paul could have ripped this song apart if he wanted.
I’ve Been Loving You Too Long - Reminds me of a weak version of These Arms Of Mine from Wille and the Poor Boys
That’s How Strong My Love Is - Plod

In my opinion, Pail's voice is at his best and most soulful when singing the luscious "It's Growing", PURE F%@#!>? soul. Actually way better and more soulful that The Temptations version, and I would go far as to say better that Otis Redding's too.
I Thank You and Any Ole Way also VERY beautifully sung.

Ok I admit, I do love Paul's voice in the early days with Free etc, but for god's sake, the man is over 64 years old and this material and voice is way better than any other works by ANY artists young or old!!

Definitely worthy of a Grammy.

Nice one Paul.
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on 9 April 2014
Although a good enough performance his Live Blues orientated issue is vastly superior and more suited to his voice, and the typeb of band he works well with.
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