Review: Paul Carrack, York Barbican, January 26

PAUL Carrack has enjoyed a long career as a vocalist and songwriter; his excellent, soulful voice has featured on hit songs with Ace, Squeeze and Mike + The Mechanics.

These days he’s focused on his own material and band, and he delivered a great show at York Barbican on Saturday. The Sheffield musician, who has been recording and performing for nearly 40 years, led a six-piece backing band that included his son Jack as one of two excellent drummers.

Carrack, 67, was dressed in a pale suit and sported sunglasses and hat, looking a little like Van Morrison, but perhaps with a better handle on people skills. He is not the world’s greatest lyricist; he lacks the subtle flair of a Dylan or Cohen, and often the words to his music are a little clichéd with references to blue eyes, life being too short, wind in sails, digging deep (et cetera), but he delivers the songs with such emotive force that it would take a tough heart not to be moved.

There was more then one handkerchief in the audience during some of the tender moments, such as The Living Years, a hymn to inter-generational dialogue that was a huge hit in 1988. A souped-up version of Ace’s How Long included a raucous audience joining in. As soulful pop goes, you don’t get a lot better than this. The band were brilliant, Carrack was on terrific form, and the crowd went home happy.

Miles Salter