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Graham Clark
Features Writer
3:29 AM 7th November 2019

Simply Red - Blue Eyed Soul (BMG)

At this point in his career Mick Hucknall could have gone and recorded an album of old soul standards, instead he and Simply Red have come up with a new album that is funky in a James Brown way. Not forgetting his past there are some soulful ballads too that hark back to his Stars period.

Recorded as live, with few overdubs the album draws on inspiration from classic funk artists such as Issac Hayes, Curtis Mayfield and of course, James Brown.

The album starts off with the first single released from the album, Thinking of You. Hucknall might have wanted it to sound like a James Brown track and in parts it does, but it could easily be a Bruno Mars song too. Catchy and as sticky as treacle the track will sound even better live.

Sweet Child the second track on the album and also the second single is a typical Simply Red ballad that could have come off the Stars album. If Thinking of You was too raw for you, the purists will probably appreciate Sweet Child better.

Take A Good Look is another soulful ballad. If you added in some harmonies it could be an old Stylistics or Delfonics song. "Will you climb the mountain and reach the top" he sings on the track as if reflecting on his own life, as he nears 60 years of age next year.

A funky bass line leads into Ring That Bell on a track that shows again Hucknall has been listening to his old soul and R&B albums. BadBootz has a strong Boogie influence that has a Horn section that borrows from Bobby 'Blue' Bland and Tower of Power.

The album is out on Friday, 8 November 2019.

I rate the album 3 out of 5