Friday, 18 October 2019

Simply Red - Greatest Hits

Something got me started....


Simply Red, despite their huge commercial success for many years, have always found critical kudos hard to come by. I’m not quite sure why that is, because their immaculately played, semi-funky brand of white soul has always sounded pretty credible to me. Maybe it is the fact that they were a white band attempting to “do” soul (although that never did David Bowie any harm), or that charismatic singer Mick Hucknall had a confidence in his own ability that some found irritating that has seen some people disparaging them. The fact that their music has often been bought by those who don’t buy too much other music can’t have helped either. This, their Greatest Hits album has become standard low volume dinner party fare.

All that said, although I don’t find myself picking this album out to play too often, whenever I hear a track from it I enjoy it. Numbers like the sumptuous soul of Holding Back The Years, the upbeat, shuffling groove of Stars, as well as the funk/soul of The Right Thing are top notch. As I said, the instrumentation and indeed the sound quality are superb. Check out that tenor saxophone solo on Holding Back The Years. The light funk of Money’s Too Tight To Mention is irresistible in a Style Council sort of way. It is dated, though, with its reference to “Reaganomics”. It is an admirably cynical reaction to the falsity of the “loadsamoney” late eighties, though. It’s Only Love is a classic slice of seductive late eighties, late night soul. You've Got It sounds very like Wet Wet Wet, with Mick's almost indistinguishable from that of Marti Pellow. There is a lovely saxophone solo on this one.


1. Holding Back The Years
2. Money’s To Tight To Mention
3. The Right Thing
4. It’s Only Love
5. A New Flame
6. You’ve Got It
7. If You Don’t Know Me By Now
8. Stars
9. Something Got Me Started
10. Thrill Me
11. Your Mirror
12. For Your Babies
13. So Beautiful
14. Angel
15. Fairground                                            

A New Flame is a perfect piece of soulful pop and I have always liked the suitably swirling sound of Fairground. The group's cover of Harold Melvin & The Blue NotesIf You Don't Know Me By Now is up there with the original. Something Got Me Started is perfectly infectious poppy funk. The same applies to Thrill Me or the addictive Your Mirror. Look, I could pick any track from this album for praise, they are all good. Nothing earth-shattering, just quality soul/funk/pop, full of great hooks and excellent vocals.

Mick Hucknall’s heart and ideology was always in the right place, for me, anyway, and his genuine love for soul music has always shone through. Fair play to him.

Below is a clip of Simply Red performing Money's Too Tight To Mention on Top Of The Pops.


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