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James Morrison - 'Nothing Ever Hurt Like You'

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Fraser McAlpine | 17:18 UK time, Saturday, 11 July 2009

James MorrisonDid you know James Morrison attributes his gravelly voice to a near-fatal childhood bout of whooping cough? I'm sure you did, it's the kind of biographical detail that tends to crop up in the early days of a singer's career, and stick in the mind, plus it makes a kind of sense. Whooping cough can tear a larynx up something cruel, and so can excessive singing.

So when you're listening to James, try not to be fooled into thinking that he's got The Soul. That's patronising. He's trying as hard as he can to sing properly. It's not his fault, it's just that damned illness and its devastating effect.

No, don't stare! It's rude.

(Here's the video. I'm sure you don't switch a record player on with a foot pedal...)

In general, this is the kind of James Morrison song I tend to prefer, because it's a bit lively, it's got some welly behind it, and it's not overwhelmed by enormous production. It's also slinky, rather than puffed-up, and doesn't outstay its welcome.

Plus there seems to be some character to the song itself, and for all that James Morrison seems like a nice man with a distinctive voi - sorry, nearly caught myself out there - he needs all the help he can get in the personality department.

In the end, there is just something great about a Fender Rhodes piano playing dramatic chords over a funky backbeat, especially if you've got a decent song to go with it.

And look, he even mentions honey in the lyrics. That's years of personal experience with the soothing throat drinks talking there.

Four starsDownload: Out now
CD Released: July 13th
BBC Music page

(Fraser McAlpine)

James Morrison at T In The Park


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