RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke

Paul Rodgers – The Royal Sessions
429 Records


Rating: A

In America, Paul Rodgers is best known as a founding member, vocalist/multi-instrumentalist and songwriter for Bad Company.  He also did the same for the bands Free and The Firm.  Now, Paul has released a solo album of soul classics recorded at the legendary Royal Studios in Memphis, Tennessee. 

Appearing with Paul on the album are a who’s who of truly legendary and iconic musicians including Michael Toles: Guitar, Leroy Hodges: Guitar (Bass), Michael Barar: Viola, Roy Brewer: Violin, Marc Franklin: Trumpet, Charles Hodges: Hammond B3, Wesley Hovanec: Electric Bongos, Jonathan Kirkscey: Cello, Beth Luscombe: Viola, Perry Margouleff: Guitar, Mixing, Producer, Lannie McMillan: Sax (Tenor), Susanna Perry-Gilmore: Violin, Jessie Munson: Violin, Royal Horns, Lester Snell: Piano, Gary Topper: Sax (Tenor), Archie Turner: Wurlitzer, Mark Wallace: Cello, The Royal Singers, The Royal Strings, James L. Spake: Sax (Baritone) and James Robertson: Drums.

Rodgers sings ten classic songs of the era on the album, backed by the aforementioned musicians and singers.  The result can only be described as stunning, the sound amazing.  The impromptu performances are flawless, yet soulful while improvised. The music is emotional and the vocals passionate.  This album should win a Grammy hands down; it may win more than one. 

Rodgers soaked up the atmosphere and gave this album his all.  These are songs that touched Rodgers deeply as a young man, providing him the inspiration to move forward and become an iconic musician in his own right.  Musically, the album is a time capsule to a past era when music was about more than scoring drugs, getting chicks and becoming famous.  It was an era where music mattered to people and the songs were special and became part of the fabric of their everyday lives. 

The album is so emotional that when truly taken in, one feels the joy, sadness, hope and despair come seeping through the music.  Whatever Rodgers and band are playing or singing, one can see himself walking down the street or being heartbroken by the one they love.  At times the music is fun, as heard in “Born Under a Bad Sign” and “Thank You,” while other times, it is oh so sad, ala “I’ve Been Loving you Too Long (to Stop Now).”  No matter what emotion is being conveyed, it is always real, which, with this kind of music, is what one hopes for.  On The Royal Sessions, Rodgers gives the performance of his lifetime, never before has he sung with such passion.  Looking at his past body of work, that is truly an amazing accomplishment.  

Proceeds of the album are being donated to local music charities and there may even be a live performance in the future that will be recorded for release on Blu-Ray and DVD. 

Paul Rodgers has never been content to run with the pack; he leads the pack, and rightly so, as he provides magic every time he steps up to a microphone.  Looking back at Bad Co and Free, one can easily see Paul’s soul and blues influences on the rock music he created. 

Buy this one for the singer, love it for the songs.

Track Listing
    "I Thank You" (Isaac Hayes / David Porter)
    "Down Don’t Bother Me" (Albert King)
    "I Can’t Stand The Rain" (Don Bryant / Bernard Miller / Ann Peebles)
    "I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)" (Jerry Butler / Otis Redding)
    "That's How Strong My Love Is" (Roosevelt Jamison)
   "Walk On By" (Burt Bacharach / Hal David)
    "Any Ole Way" (Steve Cropper / Otis Redding)
    "It's Growing" (Warren Moore / Smokey Robinson)
    "Born Under A Bad Sign" (William Bell / Booker T. Jones)
    "I’ve Got Dreams To Remember" (Otis Redding)

By Jeb Wright