A review of
Paul Raymonds 5th solo project, entitled Secret Life is due for release shortly. For those of you who are familiar with his music, and are expecting more along the same lines, this is going to come as somewhat of a shock! The musician and songwriter best known as keyboard player/rhythm guitarist from UFO, has always had other strings to his bow but never aired them in public, hence the title Secret Life.
This collection of songs I would describe as easy listening with a jazz feel. Think Rod Stewarts American Songbook and you are almost there, other than instead of the focus being on such a very famous, recognisable voice, the musicianship on this album in my opinion has greater depth and is technically more challenging. All but one of the tracks are covers of well known songs, but the arrangements are all Raymonds own.
The first track How
About You sets the tone immediately, with a stylish laid-back
piano and bass vibe. Improvised lyrics give this song an update from
the original and a wonderful vibraphone solo showcases
Raymonds musical ability.
How Wonderful You Are is a tranquil piano and vocal number. At times the vocals are almost Rod-esque! Perfect for chilling out to with a large glass of red, after a hard days work.
Lover Come Back to Me is for me one of the stand-out tracks. This has a kind of Gospel feel, complete with soaring Hammond organ and electric guitar solo. Of all the tracks, this is probably is closest to rock it gets; the vocal style is pure rock ballad outstanding!
Got You Babe begins with a beautiful, delicate piano intro
which leads into the recognisable melody. This is an instrumental
track, which has a very simple piano, bass and percussion arrangement.
Didnt Know About You and Easy Living
This Cant Be Love is an up-beat, finger clicking, foot-tapping number, starting with vocals over an energetic bass line. Drums and piano follow, then all the stops are pulled out, with amazing, lightning-fast vibraphone and piano solos. It has a great feel and sounds like hes really enjoying himself!
Makin Bread Again is an instrumental blues groove, complete with live audience participation. It digresses into full-blown jazz improvisation with saxophone, trumpet, piano and bass solos before reverting to the blues. Ambitious but I think he pulls it off!
Out of Nowhere For me, this is the weakest track, not that theres anything terribly wrong with it, but its more of the same mid-tempo light jazz, but without any strong characteristics. Elevator-music.
Life, Raymonds only original composition on the album
is a solo piano piece, classical in style with a touching, melancholic
quality. The tone of the piano is quite exquisite and it is played
with sentiment and sensitivity - the perfect closing track.