With 10 tracks that include five new songs and classic covers of Ray Charles "Hard Times" and Luther Ingram's slow burning soul masterpiece "If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don't Wanna Be Right)," Paul Carrack (Mike & the Mechanics) has again come up with an astonishing new album. Rain or Shine is a mixture of original songs and covers which all in all is a collection of songs delivered as only Paul Carrack knows how - with SOUL!
Personnel: Paul Carrack (vocals, guitar, piano, vibraphone, drums); Doug Webb (alto saxophone); Tom Evans (tenor saxophone); Tom Luer (baritone saxophone); Steve Stassi, Lee Thornburg (trumpet).
Audio Mixer: Rupert Cobb.
Recording information: Entourage Studios, Los Angeles, CA.
Photographers: Martin Huch; Andrea Hunnisett.
Like 2012's Good Feeling before it, 2013's Rain or Shine captures Paul Carrack living comfortably inside his signature sound: a blue-eyed soul that turns happier with each passing year. Sounds-wise, this one is rooted fairly strongly in late-'60s Motown, sometimes swinging a little earlier (there's "You Don't Know Me," which owes a debt to Ray Charles), sometimes swinging a little later (but no later than the early '70s, the time when Philadelphia International reigned supreme). The production on Rain or Shine is crisp and clean, almost a little too bright and shiny (the preponderance of strings accentuates this), but Carrack warms things up considerably with his light, easy touch. Make no mistake, this album doesn't deliver a knockout punch -- either with an individual song or overall impact -- but Carrack doesn't intend to wow; he aims to please, which he does in nice, relaxed ways here. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine