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Good Feeling (Remastered)
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Audio CD, Original recording remastered, 31 Mar 2014
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Paul Carrack is a figure in popular music more akin to Woody Allen’s Zelig than several of his limelight-groping contemporaries. Despite his success over the years and vocal prominence on some extraordinary hits, he’s nowhere near as well known as he might be.
Perhaps this is because his three most popular songs didn’t come out under his own name – namely Ace’s fantastic 1970s pub-soul single How Long, Squeeze’s superb Tempted, on which Carrack delivers a great guest appearance, and his multinational mega-hit appearance on Mike + The Mechanics’ The Living Years. He’s also a respected keyboard player, and must be the only person to have recorded sessions for The Smiths, Roxy Music and B.B. King.
All of this may or may not go some way to explain why Carrack, now in his early 60s, has not exactly devastated the charts on a regular basis. Then again, as Good Feeling demonstrates, while Carrack is an adaptable singer and player – he’d probably be as at home on a Wiley recording as a Van Morrison one – he shows very little interest in adapting to today’s pop world.
A chart tart Carrack is not. Good Feeling is the kind of record that fans of Carrack contemporary Nick Lowe would enjoy – both share an approach that’s medium-paced, slow-burning and full of genial intensity, like a slightly more approachable Arthur Alexander.
Good Feeling is an album of what they used to called varied moods, from the Ray Charles tribute I Can Hear Ray, which would fit nicely on a Boz Scaggs album, to the leisurely Motown of Good Feelin’ About It. Elsewhere there’s the slight jazz of Thad Jones’ A Child Is Born and the sprightliness of Marmalade Moon (co-written by Squeeze’s Chris Difford).
This is a record so out of time it’s hard to say what era it would fit in, leaving the listener to just go with things, hearing songs that occupy the space they’re in now. Well-made, good-natured, tuneful and easy to imagine being performed in a nice warm venue with good bathroom facilities, Good Feeling is aptly-named and most enjoyable.
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Top customer reviews
The title track kicks things off in style, a slice of mid-tempo, blue-eyed soul which is classic Carrack.
'Marmalade Moon' continues in very much the same groove and is written with ex-Squeeze member and Paul's good friend, Chris Difford.
The third track, 'Nothing Without You' is very reminiscent of 'If I Didn't Love You' from 2008's 'I Know That Name' if a little more up-tempo.
After the slight disappointment of track 3, the album really ups the ante with 'I Can Hear Ray', Paul's homage to Ray Charles and
for me, one of the best Paul Carrack songs to date. Track 5 is 'Long Ago', the first true ballad of the album and is pure nostalgia
as Paul looks back on past events from his life. 'Make It Right' is written by Tinlin who Paul's son Charlie occasionally plays drums for
and who presumably brought this song to his attention, I'm so glad he did as it's among the best tracks on this or any other Carrack album.
'If I Should Fall Behind' is a relatively faithful cover of the classic Springsteen track and sounds great in Paul's capable hands.
'From Now On' revisits a Nick Lowe composition from Paul's second solo album, 1982's 'Suburban Voodoo' although this version is totally reworked and hardly recognisable.
'I Don't Wanna Lose Your Love' sticks to what Paul's good at, a mid-tempo groove with his trademark Hammond organ at its heart.
'Time To Move On' continues the vibe of the opening tracks with a strong Northern Soul feel.
'When My Little Girl Is Smiling' was released as a recent radio single and is an up-tempo cover of the Gerry Goffin & Carole King track.
'A Child Is Born' is a ballad which slows things down to close the album.
The album has a really organic feel, much less 'shiny' than 'I Know That Name - Ultimate Version' (his last studio album other than 2010's 'A Different Hat'
which was recorded with a full orchestra). This may be due to the new Mix Engineer, Rupert Cobb but whatever the reason, it sounds great and has a classic soul feel throughout.
'A Different Hat' was always going to be a difficult album to follow having been recorded with the RPO and simply oozing quality
but in terms of what I'd describe as 'proper' PC albums, this is certainly up there with his best and is an excellent album from an artist that, like a fine wine, is improving with age.
A documentary on Paul, 'The Man With The Golden Voice' featuring interviews with Timothy B Schmit, Mike Rutherford and Nick Lowe will be aired on Friday, 12th October 2012 at 9pm on BBC 4 TV.
Following such a superb album was always going to be a hard act, I ordered an advanced copy of this new release direct from Paul`s own website, so how does this latest offering fare?
The album kicks off in great style with the title track `Good Feelin` About It`, sounding like an old northern soul classic, it`s an infectious song that will immediately become a favorite. The tempo continues with the oddly titled `Marmalade Moon`, driven along by a brass/sax section and you can almost feel the enjoyment that went into making these songs.
`Nothing Without You` has a funkier twist, with some Hammond licks that cannot fail to carry the listener along with its soulful beat.
The first ballad of the album, `I Can Hear Ray`, is pure class. A gorgeous, chilled out, smooth-as-silk, soul tune that showcases Mr. Carrack at his very best. It has no peers here and is the albums best track.
`Long Ago` is another top-drawer ballad. It`s a beautiful, nostalgic, looking-back song that would be a stand-out track on any previous album and is up there with any of Paul`s best material.
`Make It Right` (written by the Tinlin Brothers who have supported Paul on tour) has shades of Stevie Wonder running through it, and Paul illustrates the songs` pedigree so well that the great Motown man himself would be proud to call it his own.
After so many peaks, the album hits an inevitable flat spot as Paul goes into cruise control, starting with a cover of Springsteen`s `If I Should Fall Behind`. A good effort (though personally Faith Hill has the definitive version of this song) and this is followed by a reworking of one of Paul`s own songs `From Now On`. Long term fans will recognize this from many years ago and this slowed down and stripped back version sits in nicely with the albums feel but one can`t help but wonder why it merits inclusion here.
Then the groove kicks in again and we`re back into action with `I Don`t Wanna Lose Your Love`. This track could easily have been lifted off (or spilled over) from the aforementioned brilliance of the `I Know That Name` album and that really says it all about how good this track is. Classic Carrack.
`Time To Move On` has all the hallmarks of a soul classic from the glory days of the Stax label and by now you`re admiring the high consistency of great songwriting on this album.
Next comes another cover, this time the sixties hit `When My Little Girl Is Smiling`. Paul successfully covered `When You Walk In The Room` in the eighties and it`s still a crowd favorite. This song, surprisingly, has a very similar riff to it. It`s another solid cover and one can almost see a sixties medley becoming a part of his concert setlist.
It closes strangely, with the slowest track `A Child Is Born`, a self-explanatory sweet ballad that would feels more at home on the `A Different Hat` album. Maybe switching this with the majestic `Long Ago` in the playing order would have made the songs flow better? (just my opinion)
So docked one star for the inclusion of cover and reworked songs which you feel have taken the place of possibly more, newly written songs, all of which are excellent on this album. Also, at only twelve tracks, you`re left feeling a little short changed, and wish more tracks could have been included. This, of course, can also be classed as a good sign!
As always, a vastly under-rated and greatly overlooked artist whose recognition and reward as one of the best soul singers this country has produced is long overdue. This album only continues to underline that point. Buy it.
I Can Hear Ray and From Now I On are my favourite tracks. I Can Hear Ray is so smooth and relaxing to listen to. Songwriting at its best. From Now On is a powerful song, and I love the melody. I can't stop listening to both!
Long Ago and If I should Fall Behind are my next favourites.
This is a remarkable achievement from a man with raw talent. His voice keeps getting better and he keeps delivering the goods. It is clear that we can look forward to more from Paul in the future. He works hard, and never stops (thankfully!).
I can't wait to hear him sing I Can Hear Ray and From Now On in concert. I will be going to his concert next month.
Well done Paul and THANK YOU!
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