Paul Carrack

These Days

(Carrack UK)

Carrack imbues his songs with uncommon connectivity and warmth. It is easy for any human being to recognise a situation or a dilemma sketched out by this writer and empathise, understand, ponder. That Paul attains this ambience whilst avoiding corny phrases or trite words puts him – along with Joan Armatrading, Janis Ian and Jon Allen – into the league of composers with that exquisite human touch. This release really does dig deep into relationships and the enduring value of special memories. We are reviewing the Special Edition CD. In conversation with us, Paul stressed the inspiration bestowed upon him by the discovery of family snaps taken by his father and indeed the artwork features these. So we are in the here and now with this new collection BUT mindful of the past and where it has led. En route, the value of love is reaffirmed…

As regards personnel, who could anyone pick to top this crew, for this project? Paul Simon’s drummer Steve Gadd! Pretenders, McCartney and John Mayer guitar ace Robbie McIntosh, bassist Jeremy Meek, horn arranger Pee Wee Ellis, ace sax and brass players, percussionists Frank Ricotti and Peter Van Hooke. The last also co-produces. Nothing can go wrong!

Amazing has a steady pace and a snappy electric sitar in the mix. The warmth of the voice strikes the listener, keys for the vocals throughout the collection are comfortable in a Steely Dan vein and the horn charts sometimes reminiscent of say, their Gaucho or Aja releases. The number sounds as if it’s been around for ever. In this regard, the co-writes in this programme with none other than Chris Difford have a sonic harvest as rich on anyone could predict.

On to Life In A Bubble with its stealthy tempo and guitar twirls from McIntosh plus soft Hammond vamping. This is one haunting song and would that Etta James were still around to attempt it. The harmonies sound fine and the guitar break aches with the ghost of Larry Carlton somehow embraced. In The Cold Light Of Day is a pacey piece that surely The Doobie Brothers might cover. This is where the horns come into their own, not too toppy but emphatic. Slide guitar cuts loose. Sounds like a set opener, Paul?

Next up Dig Deep hits a gentle Southern Soul groove and could be a lot Arthur Alexander’s that good! Not a terrifically original melody but that matters little when it’s put over like this. Title cut These Days hits a lilting Caribbean groove that sounds just right, in a Jimmy Cliff sense. A melodic toe-tapper. I would have put an accordion on this. You Make Me Feel Good is already a favourite at JLTT headquarters, a bluesy outing reeking of Memphis or perhaps more so the Malaco label. The ascending chorus gives an unusual dynamic that yes, does evoke Little Milton. What a gem and a brilliant organ tone plus more of that keening slide guitar.

Tell Somebody Who Cares stands the usual sentiment of that phrase on its head with cool style and a heartfelt delivery that is hard to resist. It’s somewhere between Ry Cooder and Jimmy Buffett..and is that a bad place to be ? Where Does The Time Go ? has a rich ensemble vocal and a jukebox melody. If Elvis was still around he would surely be tapping Carrack for material. Talk To Me struts along with a twist of jazz, a tuneful plea of a song that you just don’t want to end. For me, this is the sonic cherry on this cake. Again this proves that Robbie is the guitar man for the project, even if I’d rather it was me! Perfect Storm is a strident r&b item which would suit Paul Young given that Bobby Bland is not with us. Matters end with The Best I Could.

The second disc has the title Live Trio. I will leave you to locate this edition and savour what’s on here. The contents are When You Walk In The Room from the pen of Jackie De Shannon and familiar from the Searchers’ version, One In A Million, Van’s Into The Mystic, That’s All That Matters To Me, Dig Deep, Life’s Too Short, If I Should Fall Behind and finally The Only One, a rolling philosophical where a link with Squeeze shows the most.

Tuneful songs with real heart, I reckon Paul has absorbed more of Arthur Alexander than he might realise but his personal touch is the thread to the range displayed on this release. I can’t wait to hear them performed.

Pete & Glenn Sargeant


(Many thanks to DC at Planet Earth)

Paul Carrack’s new studio album ‘These Days’ is out now on his own record label Carrack-UK. It is available as a standard CD, Deluxe CD Set, Vinyl and Download.

For more information visit his official website here:

In addition, Carrack will embark on an extensive 29-date UK Tour in 2019 that commences on Friday 18th January 2019 at the Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, United Kingdom and concludes in March 2019.

Special guest on all of the dates will be Lauren Ray.

The 2019 UK Tour will stop at the following venues:

Friday 18th January 2019 –  Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Saturday 19th January 2019 –  Philharmonic Hall, Liverpool, United Kingdom

Sunday 20th January 2019 – Town Hall, Leeds, United Kingdom

Friday 25th January 2019 – Symphony Hall, Birmingham, United Kingdom

Saturday 26th January 2019 – Barbican, York, United Kingdom

Sunday 27th January 2019 – Sage, Gateshead, United Kingdom

Friday 1st February 2019 – Concert Hall, Perth, Scotland, United Kingdom

Saturday 2nd February 2019 – City Hall, Hull, United Kingdom

Sunday 3rd February 2019 –  Corn Exchange, Cambridge, United Kingdom

Friday 8th February 2019 – Pavillion Theatre, Bournemouth, United Kingdom

Saturday 9th February 2019 –  Pavilions, Plymouth, United Kingdom

Sunday 10th February 2019 – Brangwyn Hall, Swansea, Wales, United Kingdom

Thursday 14th February 2019 – Royal Centre, Nottingham, United Kingdom

Friday 15th February 2019 – Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom

Saturday 16th February 2019 – Winter Gardens, Margate, United Kingdom



Friday 22nd February 22 2019 – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom

Saturday 23rd February 2019 –  Alhambra Theatre, Dunfermline, Scotland, United Kingdom

Sunday 24th February 2019 –  Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

Friday 1st March 2019 – Cliffs Pavilion, Southend, United Kingdom

Saturday 2nd March 2019 – Palladium, London, United Kingdom

Friday 8th March  2019 – G Live, Guildford, United Kingdom

Saturday 9th March 2019 – Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury, United Kingdom

Sunday 10th March 2019 – St David’s Hall, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom

Thursday 14th March 2019 – City Hall, Sheffield, United Kingdom

Friday 15th March 2019 –  De Montfort Hall, Leicester, United Kingdom

Saturday 16th March 2019 – Brighton Centre, Brighton, United Kingdom

Friday 22nd March 2019 – Town Hall, Middlesborough, United Kingdom

Saturday 23rd March 2019 – Harrogate International Centre, Harrogate, United Kingdom

Sunday 24th March 2019 –  Lowry, Salford, Manchester, United Kingdom