Paul Carrack
   
I Know That Name
   
   

Release Date: May 05, 2009
Produced by: N/A
Format: CD

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07/01/2009
Adam Jahnke


 

Whether or not you know the name Paul Carrack, you almost certainly know the voice.  His smooth, honey-drenched vocals have been featured by such bands as Squeeze and Mike + The Mechanics, helping propel 1988’s “The Living Years” to number one.  I Know That Name is Carrack’s fourteenth solo album and while it’s not the most electrifying CD you’ll ever hear, at its best it’s a perfectly enjoyable example of adult contemporary-tinged blue-eyed soul.

The album kicks things off with “No Doubt About It”, a toe-tapping number with great horn work by Ed Collins and Steve Beighton adding spice.  The next track, “I Don’t Want To Hear Any More”, was written by Carrack for the Eagles’ 2007 album Long Road Out Of Eden.  Don Henley and Timothy B. Schmit return the favor by adding background vocals to Carrack’s version.  The song is perfectly fine, if not particularly memorable, which sort of sums up the album as a whole.

The best songs on here all feel a bit like demo versions waiting for other artists to come along and make them their own.  “It Ain’t Easy (To Love Somebody)” would be perfectly at home on a Moondance-era Van Morrison album.  The bluesy “Who Am I?” would be an ideal Bonnie Raitt single.  Even the reggae-flavored “Just 4 Tonite” could have its arrangement tweaked slightly to be covered by Los Lobos.  Not that there’s anything wrong with Carrack’s renditions.  They could simply benefit from more aggressive musicians.  Carrack himself is credited with playing most of the instruments on the album.  Perhaps some equally creative collaborators would have boosted the songs up to the next level.

Even so, songs like “Ain’t No Love In The Heart Of The City” and “Stay Awake (I’m Coming Home)” sound just fine in Carrack’s hands.  Unfortunately, there are a handful of outright clunkers.  “Love Is Thicker Than Water” benefits from guest vocals by R&B legend Sam Moore but the lyrics let him down (and that title hasn’t gotten any fresher or more clever since Andy Gibb used it back in ’77).  The album goes out with a whimper, with another stab at reggae even weaker than the first (“Eyes Of Blue”) and “Am I In That Dream?”.  Al Jarreau could have done a cover of the latter song and that isn’t meant as a compliment.

For the most part, I Know That Name feels like the kind of CD a recent divorcee would put on as make-out music over red wine and candlelight.  The lyrics have way too many references to kids and pastoral home-life to appeal to anybody much younger than 30.  If that sounds like a slam, it’s not necessarily meant as one.  This is smooth, easy-to-digest music that doesn’t get in the way of a good conversation but never quite recedes into background noise. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 



 
     
     
     

 

 

   
 
     

 

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