In 14 months, Paul Carrack releases one good album, tirelessly gigs and records another! Take note all you young pretenders…
ain Or Shine is the latest in a long line of high standard pieces of work from one of our finest singer/songwriters. Care and attention are lavished throughout: on the production (Carrack abetted by his old mucker Peter Van Hooke); on the song selection (both originals and well-selected covers); on the horn and string arrangements, and of course on the performances. It is Paul Carrack’s obvious love for the job that makes it seem so deceptively effortless, but you can’t maintain such a high benchmark of creativity without giving your abilities a daily workout with a smile on your face.
It helps of course when you’re blessed with such a ‘golden voice’ in the first place. Paul’s stood out from its first true outing with Ace, but it has matured and improved over the years and become truly golden. The last ten months on the road have added even more flexibility and coated it with a husky patina that combine to perfection on such tracks as Ray Charles’ Come Rain Or Come Shine. It is a measure of his ability that he can tackle such classics and make a good fist of it. The same cannot be said of many more highly regarded contemporary performers. The other covers contained herein are each given as much care and attention and come to an equally satisfactory conclusion.
It is no secret that Paul Carrack is also no slouch when it comes to writing a song either, and he doesn’t disappoint here. Half of the ten tracks are self composed and every one of them stands up against the other five classics he has opted for. Lyrically, he has the knack of hitting on a suitable phrase as a hook line – One In A Million, Life’s Too Short, That’s All That Matters to Me – and then developing the theme with tasteful economy. This ability, combined with his natural ear for a fine melody, produces a beautifully balanced piece of work.
We must be grateful that a decision was made somewhere during the project to go that extra mile and secure the services of legendary arranger Richard Niles to add strings and horns to the mix. It provides the class that an album like this truly deserves. If there were any justice in the world, this album would be heard by anyone who still has a pulse. There isn’t of course, but while there’s music like this out there, we still have hope.
Verdict: Carrack proves that all you need to produce a really good album is a wealth of experience and devotion