Thursday, October 15, 2015

Paul Young-The Crossing (1993)


Proceeding with more familiar voices from the 'P' entries of my music collection, I now cross back over into the 90's in order to present someone else who's been around for decades, yet haven't listened to very much once the 80's were here and gone. I've always been a big fan of Paul Young and his distinctive soulful voice, and that admiration was reinforced in my morning listening of the singer's fifth solo album, "The Crossing". Not only that, but also the versatility in that soulful voice, which can be powerfully gritty and aching one moment, then soft and tender in another instance, or high and lofty whenever the song selection calls for it. "Hope In A Hopeless World" greeted me and my ears kindly with an easy-flowing mid-tempo groove and a more mellower side of the singer, which was very appropriate for the song's theme about the songwriter crying out for help to change the state of the world around him and to ease his own troubled mind. Songs like this are always welcomed because of their meaningful messages, and the message here applies even now in this 2015 year. From the awful truth to the bitter truth: "The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter", a gem of a song I had saved on an old mix playlist from years ago and which propelled me to obtain this copy of "The Crossing", says it all about the game of love in one simple statement. The oh-so-sweet jazzing up of the melody is a perfect companion to the honest words and the the breezy late-80's style rhythm that gets me going here. Even more truth to be told on Paul's remarkable remake of the Bonnie Raitt 70's classic, "Love Has No Pride". So surprised that I'd never gotten to hear Young's version until now; he takes a more warming approach than Bonnie does, whose bittersweet acoustic original was completely true blues and so taxing on my own heart. I've always favored the final line from the memorable main chorus the most: 'I'd give anything to see you again'. And when it's the final words to a song, you can't help but to be affected by it in some way. If Paul didn't have the blues covering the Bonnie Raitt classic, then he surely was feeling some pain on "Won't Look Back", which I had a feeling would be sad in some way, even though the title could just as easily have implied not wanting to go back to being lonely. In this case, my intuition was correct, as the lyrics tell about the songwriter's desire to keep moving straight ahead and as far away from his romantic past as possible. Of course, you can't have a sad, miserable song without some beautifully melancholy jazz to accompany that misery, and those straining, gritty Paul Young vocals that I love so much perfectly illustrates that misery. From the instrumentals to the concluding cut, "It Will Be You", one might've figured there would be even more pain and misery, as this one is totally the true blues just like Bonnie Raitt's original recording "Love Has No Pride". Yet once you hear the beautiful, poetic tribute given in the words that Young and his cast of backup vocalists sing, a song of happiness (every kiss, every touch and every thing he does will be saved for just the one he loves) is realized. The happiness is unmistakable on perhaps this album's most delightful piece: "Half A Step Away". The peaceful sound of the fluttery woodwind has a lot to do with that, but then there's the sincerity felt in the lyrics of wanting to be closer to the one he desires. Really, every song charms me some fashion (I also found myself getting attached to the retro classy swing of "Now I Know What Made Otis Blue" and the lively "Only Game In Town", which takes me back to the 80's), and I'm confident they will charm all of the other easy-listening music lovers out there as well:

1. Hope In A Hopeless World
2. Now I Know What Made Otis Blue
3. Bring Me Home
4. The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter
5. Won't Look Back
6. Only Game In Town
7. Love Has No Pride
8. Down In Chinatown
9. Half A Step Away
10. Follow On
11. It Will Be You

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