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Live review: Paul Young

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Royal & Derngate, Northampton
May 13th 2019

Putting a decidedly Antipodean twist on Americana is Brisbane born singer-songwriter Sinead Burgess. Accompanied only by an acoustic guitar set opener ‘Tennessee Bound’ has a real forward motion, and there’s a lot of variety on display as next cut, ‘Praising God, Raising Hell’, is very Dylan-esque – both musically and in its lyrical astuteness. Interspersing her songs with confessional tales adheres Sinead to the crowd as does the bluesy ‘Momma Raised a Ramblin’ Man’, which segues nicely into a cover of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘The Chain’. In relocating to Nashville Sinead seems to have absorbed some of that environment and it gives her country tinged songs an authenticity, especially on latest single ‘Wild Flowers of Colorado’.

Some albums, perhaps unwittingly, really capture the spirit of the times and that’s certainly the case with Paul Young’s No Parlez. While it’s an album very much of its era it also has a timeless quality and this is due to the wide spectrum of influences it drew upon. As befitting of such a seminal album Paul is here to perform that record in full, and the rocky ‘Behind Your Smile’ is perfect as an opening salvo. Evidencing the wide palette from which No Parlez was painted the reggae influenced ‘Love of the Common People’ follows along with the chanting title track. Taking a few liberties with the original track listing his breakthrough solo smash ‘Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)’ is welcomed like an old friend by an exuberant crowd, and precedes the funky ‘Iron Out the Rough Spots’. When No Parlez catapulted Paul Young into the mainstream the album was plundered for single after single, and in truth any track on this record would’ve troubled the charts. His cover of ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ still seems a little daring but, by putting his own stamp on it ensures it nestles effortlessly alongside his own ‘Tender Trap’ and ‘Broken Man’. The Jack Lee penned ‘Sex’ brings the No Parlez section to a fitting end.

What follows is a crowd pleasing, career spanning set as Paul cherry picks tunes from his long career. Taking us back to his genesis a raucous run through of The Q Tips ‘Get ’em Up Joe’ gets the audience on their feet, before ‘I’m Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down’ almost takes the roof off the Derngate. Backed by his regular band ensures the songs are faithfully reproduced while simultaneously retaining a live edge. The addition of two female backing vocalists provide a nice foil to Paul’s blue-eyed soul but now oak-aged vocals. Quite fittingly ‘Every Time We Say Goodbye’ brings the show to a conclusion but, judging by some of the young folk present, this is really ‘hello’.

Peter Dennis

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