Review: Paul Carrack, Royal Concert Hall, by Kevin Cooper
HAVING been a fan of Paul Carrack's since his early days with Ace, Squeeze, Roxy Music, Nick Lowe and, more recently, Mike and the Mechanics, I thought that it was time for me to investigate him in his own right.
I had heard that, although Carrack could be safe and middle of the road, this 61-year-old Sheffield musician has one of the best white soul voices in the UK.
He was to bring to life the old songs but also throw in a few from his latest album, Good Feelin'.
As Carrack strode out onto the sparsely decorated stage (a simple plain black back-drop with what could only be described as 12 oversized golf balls suspended above), he opened with the album's title track, which has a hook that recalls Sam Cooke.
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After Whatever and the Squeeze hit Tempted, he paid tribute to Ray Charles with I Can Hear Ray, the stand out song of the evening.
While Carrack is an accomplished guitarist, it is when he sits behind the keyboards that he comes alive. It's where he belongs.
A cover of Bruce Springsteen's If I Should Fall Behind showcased his incredible vocal range but it was Eyes of Blue and The Living Years, his hit with Mike and the Mechanics, which brought the audience to their feet.
Ace classic How Long prompted a sing-a-long at the close of the main set, returning for an encore that included Over My Shoulder and Marmalade Moon, the latter penned with Squeeze's Chris Difford.