(New State Music/Baked Recordings)
It’s been a while since the soul singer put out a record out in the UK but now he’s back with a set celebrating some great songs, some well-known and some not.
It’s strange how different people find their own way to popular songs. I have Young to thank (and have told him so) for my liking of Ann Peebles, simply due to the fact that back in the day he released a striking and dynamic version of one of her R&B hits in I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down, a classic song of revenge about to be taken. Peebles’ canon is well worth investigating, the musicians are the same as Al Green’s and one of her acidic songs is called I Didn’t Take Your Man (You Gave Him To Me) which is a great a sneer in musical form as anyone could find. A case in point here is Homer Banks’ strident Ain’t That A Lot Of Love, which Paul knows from other sources (possibly Three Dog Night) and Banks but a number I first heard by Taj Mahal. The six-beat riff was nicked by Spencer Davis Group for their own hit Gimme Some Lovin’.
L.O.V.E. coasts in on Philly strings and chorded Hammond, with Young’s voice sounding soulful and somewhat world-weary. The chorale sounds churchy without overkill whilst the drums are pure Willie Mitchell. It’s an Al Green hit. The horns are spot-on and neatly complementary ; Touch A Hand, Make A Friend which is Staples song sets shimmering strings against tremelo’d Rhodes for maximum warmth. The flutes are a cool touch.
Eloise has tough guitar and isn’t the Paul & Barry Ryan song that The Damned became obsessed by. A terrific song, with horns sprightly and honed plus a strong vocal. This is what we want!
Big Bird is for me easily Eddie Floyd’s best number, but it’s not as well-known as his other hits. Here, Young lets the guitars cruise in on the ascending chords before letting loose a sharp vocal as the bass pumps away Sam & Dave style
Slipped Tripped and Fell In Love is taken at a tough pulsing beat, rolling electric piano in the mix. This would make fine single AND performance-end song
I Believe In You (You Believe In Me) reminds me of Pop Staples and benefits from an insistent vocal delivery. Back For A Taste Of Your Love is pacey and guitar lick-strewn, Young’s vocal in change as the chorale coos. Some slide guitar would have been suitable on this Syl Johnson tune.
Words is the 60s Bee Gees song, much better here without the tremulous vocals on the original. It is sung well without being a show-stopper. A great melody, liberated for your listening pleasure. Your Good Thing Is About To End has moody acoustic piano and eerie guitars, closing the collection.
A punchy set of songs that works and doesn’t outstay its welcome. He’ll be out promoting it. The story here, as explained by Paul is that originally the album was going to sound a lot more electronic and programmed but was rescued from that by the gradual switch to real instruments and drums and percussion. His voice sounds a lot better against the final sonic backdrop.
Paul Young’s new album ‘Good Thing’ is out now on New State Music/Baked Recordings. For more information visit Paul’s website here: http://bit.ly/28R8xkT
(* Thanks Cat, thanks Paul)