An aptly-named and most enjoyable new solo collection.
David Quantick 2012
Paul Carrack is a figure in popular music more akin to Woody Allen’s Zelig than several of his limelight-groping contemporaries. Despite his success over the years and vocal prominence on some extraordinary hits, he’s nowhere near as well-known as he might be.
Perhaps this is because his three most popular songs didn’t come out under his own name – namely Ace’s fantastic 1970s pub-soul single How Long, Squeeze’s superb Tempted, on which Carrack delivers a great guest appearance, and his multinational mega-hit appearance on Mike + The Mechanics’ The Living Years. He’s also a respected keyboard player, and must be the only person to have recorded sessions for The Smiths, Roxy Music and B.B. King.
All of this may or may not go some way to explain why Carrack, now in his early 60s, has not exactly devastated the charts on a regular basis. Then again, as Good Feeling demonstrates, while Carrack is an adaptable singer and player – he’d probably be as at home on a Wiley recording as a Van Morrison one – he shows very little interest in adapting to today’s pop world.
A chart tart Carrack is not. Good Feeling is the kind of record that fans of Carrack contemporary Nick Lowe would enjoy – both share an approach that’s medium-paced, slow-burning and full of genial intensity, like a slightly more approachable Arthur Alexander.
Good Feeling is an album of what they used to called varied moods, from the Ray Charles tribute I Can Hear Ray, which would fit nicely on a Boz Scaggs album, to the leisurely Motown of Good Feelin’ About It. Elsewhere there’s the slight jazz of Thad Jones’ A Child Is Born and the sprightliness of Marmalade Moon (co-written by Squeeze’s Chris Difford).
This is a record so out of time it’s hard to say what era it would fit in, leaving the listener to just go with things, hearing songs that occupy the space they’re in now. Well-made, good-natured, tuneful and easy to imagine being performed in a nice warm venue with good bathroom facilities, Good Feeling is aptly-named and most enjoyable.