Monday, 15 October 2012

Mick Hucknall's 'American Soul'


So the Simply Red lead singer continues his solo career with his 2nd solo album (in 5 years) at the handsome age of 52. What should we expect? Well.... READ ON!

The album consists of covers, which very excitingly includes Otis Redding's 'Thats How Strong My Love Is' among another 11 tracks. These generally do justice to the originals such as a darker version of Ray Charles' "Lonely avenue"as well as Nina Simone's "Dont Let Me Be Misunderstod". Many have been updated to a more alternative and modern approach such as Anthony and the Johnson's "Hope There's Someone" which is a pleasantly surprising chilling but brilliant soulful version.

Certainly, the first couple of tracks are upbeat and very funkadelic ("Turn Back the Hands of Time") but as you move further into the album the pace begins to slow down ever so slightly ("Lonely Avenue", "Tell it like it is" and "I Only Have Eyes for You"). However, it begins to gain more momentum at "Baby What You Want Me To Do" and "The Girl That Radiates Charm".

The album does certainly take on elements of 'American Soul' with the use of R&B like instrumentation and vocals.  The instrumentation despite being stereotypically slightly more southern with its use of acoustic and electric guitars ("Baby What You Want Me To Do"). The use of organ has been essential is securing this 'soul' feeling as well as gorgeous piano solos ("Girl that Radiates Charm"). Soft guitar solos such as in "Let Me Down Easy" allow for a smoother, more R&B focus on things take the main stage.

The Popster/Rockster overall sounds very much like he's in love. With the majority of the track upbeat -  the overall consensus is that everything is very fine and dandy in the world of Mr Hucknall.

A strong collection of songs to cover and well constructed. To write good songs and see them through is tough but pulling apart some of you personal favourites, updating them and still doing them justice must be as equally as challenging.

Fave tracks ; "Baby What You Want Me To Do" and "Hope There's Someone".

 Like the review? Then check out more reviews on my blog : Vive's Verve

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