Carrack; Paul: Soul Shadows
As is often the case, the clue's in the question, singer and, well he handles a great deal of the instrumentation on this album, so choose from guitarist, bassist or keyboard player, Paul Carrack leaving little to the imagination by calling his sixteenth (yes, really!) solo album, Soul Shadows. Indeed you get exactly what it says on the tin, the ex-Ace and Mike + The Mechanics frontman crafting a set of songs round a gift he's been long blessed with; one of the best voices in the business. Energised from a recent stint singing and playing keyboards with Eric Clapton, Carrack moves seamlessly back into the solo-soul territory his fans so love, ten of the tracks presented here specially written for the album. The quota of covers that have been such a feature of the singer's catalogue reduced this time to one, the Bobby Bland/Aretha Franklin hit "Share You Love With Me" closing out proceedings in sumptuous style.
Prior to that you get pretty much what you'd expect from this renowned singer, crafted songs full of heart, and yes, soul, delivered with a real sense of style. Vocally Carrack is still on top form, and with many of the songs having the addition of brass, strings and other orchestration, there's no hiding the passion and attention to detail that has gone into this album. Still, there's no denying that what Soul Shadows won't do is set the pulse racing at any great speed, the mood slow and easy; the strength of delivery relied on for excitement. Towards the end of the album things do come dangerously close to meandering, "That's How I Feel" slightly listless, "Late At Night" reaching for the easy-osy auto pilot. However Carrack's vocals pull even these less engaging moments through with ease, leaving the swaggering gait of "Say What You Mean", heartfelt and slightly countrified "Watching Over Me" and "Keep On Lovin' You" and its infectious good times, to carry you along in authentic fashion. And authentic is also a word that shines through on the harmonica led and Stevie Wonder like "Sleep On It", and Motown claps and brass of "Sweet Soul Legacy".
It's amazing to think that Paul Carrack's voice has been a staple of our radio diet since Ace's "How Long" some 42 years ago and that he's been stepping out under his own name since 1980. If there's one thing he's learned in all that time, it's exactly what his fans want; for proof look no further than Soul Shadows, you won't be disappointed.
1. Keep on Lovin You
2. Sleep on It
3. Sweet Soul Legacy
4. Let Me Love Again
5. Bet Your Life
6. Too Good to Be True
7. Watching over Me
8. That's How I Feel
9. Late at Night
10. Say What You Mean
11. Share Your Love with Me
Added: March 13th 2016
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Paul Carrack online
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