A night to satisfy your soul

Paul Carrick ‘the man with the golden voice’ rolled back the years at Preston Guild Hall

Saturday, 22nd November 2014, 2:00 pm
Paul Carrack the man with the golden voice
Paul Carrack the man with the golden voice

From Satisfy my Soul through to a show-stopping How Long, those at the Guild Hall on Wednesday night were left in no doubt as to why they call Paul Carrack ‘the man with the golden voice’.

Whether tackling classic ’60s ballads or more recent twists on the theme, Paul proves soulful to the core, making each song his own.

There’s no snobbery when I tell you my better half and I brought down the average age, and it took a while to get the joint jumping.

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But irrespective of the demographic, Paul’s music is timeless, and his vocal delivery ensures intimacy, something support Elliott Morris also managed.

This Lincolnshire lad with Wiltshire, Scots and Welsh roots told us he was a pub gig regular until discovered by Paul, and proved a master of percussive guitar.

With a little John Martyn influence delivered in Seth Lakeman style, Elliott redefined folk in the same way PC does with his soul roots.

And who could resist his finale – an expressive, alternative run through Billie Jean. We can expect to hear more from this young artist.

You’ll have been forgiven for not realising Paul’s band were on for a while, such was their nonchalant arrival. But they soon found their groove.

Carrick’s guitar and keyboard duties – augmented by two drummers, a further guitarist and keyboard player, bass and sax – properly warmed up by Jackie De Shannon’s When You Walk in the Room, a journey of well-balanced nostalgia and sweet soul music following.

A laid-back Good Feelin’ About It suggested Elvis Costello meets Booker T & The MGs, and gave rise to Bobby Bland’s Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City, a taste of LA given a North Country feel.

One in a Million, the first of the tracks from latest LP, Rise or Shine, married The Impressions’ People Get Ready with Squeeze’s Black Coffee in Bed. And that’s no bad thing.

The heartfelt That’s All That Matters to Me led to Another Cup of Coffee, the first of three fine Mike + The Mechanics cuts on the night.

A pensive Eyes of Blue was touchingly delivered, while Time Waits for No One further showcased his new album, and was followed by sublime Squeeze collaboration Tempted.

Brenda Lee’s Losing You added a warm midwinter glow to proceedings, with You Don’t Know Me another timeless ballad in good hands, reminiscent of Ray Charles.

I Don’t Wanna Lose Your Love is a more laid-back take on How Long, and gave rise to a funkier Make Your Mind Up, with inspirational hints of The Staples Singers.

The high point for me was Paul’s revelatory re-jig of Bruce Springsteen 1992 cut If I Should Fall Behind. He was on top form now.

A highly-emotive I Think It’s Gonna Rain set the tone perfectly for BA Robertson / Mike Rutherford penned The Living Years. Not a dry eye in the house.

There was still time for the Needles and Pins-like When My Little Girl’s Smiling before the crowd finally found its feet for Paul’s finest pop hit, Over My Shoulder.

Hats off to anyone who can whistle so competently live, although Paul’s homburg remained resolutely on all night.

Recent single Stepping Stone followed, Paul’s seven-piece band returning for the Motown-esque Time to Move On and a fitting final singalong on his 40-year-old signature tune, which was, of course, Ace.

I’d prefer to watch PC and his band tearing it up down their local, with the dancefloor full.

But there was no doubting the band’s commitment on the night.

Malcolm Wyatt