Thursday, 24 October 2019

Simply Red - Men And Women (1987)

In the middle of the night....

  

Released on 9th March 1987

Running time 41.07

This was Simply Red’s follow up to their successful debut album, Picture Book, and, although it was a good album, it did not quite contain the real stand out quality of its predecessor. That said, it is still a pretty good example of mid/late eighties soulful pop and considerably superior to much of the synthesiser-drenched vacuous pop being released during the same period. It is an album that grows on you, though, and, because it only contains one hit is enjoyable to listen to due to the comparative unfamiliarity of the material.

The production is very much of its time, however, being slightly too trebly and not quite bassy enough for my taste.

TRACK LISTING

1. The Right Thing
2. Infidelity
3. Suffer
4. I Won’t Feel Bad
5. Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye
6. Let Me Have It All
7. Love Fire
8. Move On Out
9. Shine
10. Maybe Someday                                           


The Right Thing is an upbeat slice of funk/pop which was a big hit. Infidelity is a catchy and funky number with a high-pitched vocal from Mick Hucknall and some very eighties-style backing vocals, plus a killer saxophone solo. Very “wine bar” in its lush, laid-back, polished sound. Suffer is a bit like a Michael Jackson slow number in some ways. Again, Hucknall’s vocal is impressive, but it is not a song that hits you between the ears, so to speak. Nice bass and saxophone at the end though.

I Won’t Feel Bad has a typical eighties groove in its dance-style “chicka-chicka” guitar riff. The song is a lively, funky one, with punchy brass and another enthusiastic vocal. The old easy listening classic Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye is dealt with nicely by Hucknall. Yes, it could have been cheesy, but it is not.


Let Me Have It All is a deep, chunky piece of Style Council-ish white funk. Love Fire has a reggae tinge to it, and a bit of a feel of Keith Richards’ reggae influenced Rolling Stones numbers in there somewhere. Move On Out is sumptuous, slick eighties pop funk. Even though Simply Red were only on their second album, you get the impression that songs like Shine were now ones that they could trot out in their sleep. It was quality funky white soul by numbers.

The album ends on a more sombre, deeper note with the late night tones of Maybe Someday. It features a superb trumpet solo. As I said earlier, this was not a remarkable album in any way, but it is certainly not an unlistenable one. It has an understated appeal.

Below is a clip of Simply Red performing The Right Thing.


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