Today, Paul Rodgers releases Midnight Rose. Not to be derogatory, but Middlesbrough is not known for much, not enough to warrant a chosen subject on Mastermind anyway. But joking aside, it can, in fairness, boast being the birthplace of comedian Bob Mortimer, festive petrol head Chris Rea and the temporary adopted home of Italian football legend Fabrizio Ravenelli.
Paul Rodgers – Midnight Rose (Sun Records)
Release Date: 22 September 2023
Words: Brian Boyle
But eclipsing all that, it can proudly brag as the place where classic rock legend Paul Rodgers was brought into the world. Not so unsexy anymore, is it?
The iconic singer who cemented his reputation as the front of house of seventies big hitters Free and Bad Company and, despite some dismay from gatekeepers, also did a fine job fronting Queen. Well, fifty per cent of it, anyway.
So after spoiling us over the years with gilt-edged classic rock like All Right Now, Feel Like Makin’ Love, Wishing Well and Can’t Get Enough Of Your Love and countless others, the question is, at a sprightly looking 73 years, does the world need new Paul Rodgers music ?.
Well, if it’s good enough for The Rolling Stones to flaunt their Hackney Diamonds, then a fresh batch of songs from one of the most revered voices in music will do very nicely.
“My new album Midnight Rose grew from sparks of ideas I had,” Rodgers told us. “The sparks developed into a raging fire when the band and everyone involved brought their absolute ‘A’ game. I think it is my best album to date. I like it. I hope you do, too.”
Midnight Rose is an old-school eight tracker produced by the well-lauded Bob Rock and Rodger’s long-term partner, Cynthia Rodgers.
But while he could record an album in a working formula one pit and still sound majestic, the addition of Rock just adds that juicy bit of crackling with timely bits of crunch. Openers Coming Home and Photo Shooter have that by the bucket load, big bulging blues rock numbers with super instant likeability.
Without going on about the ageing process too much, and not to sound like I’m giving his backside big, wet, sloppy kisses, his Rolls Royce voice is showing little or no signs of wear and tear. On the breathtaking title track, he sounds pristine, and I’m pretty sure that’s not totally down to magical knob twiddling by Mr Rock.
Living It Up could be Bad Company in their prime, with Rodgers letting that cocky vocal strut flow in full carte blanche mode. Dance In The Sun is as feel-good of a song as you’ll find this year, a perfect tonic for an impending harsh winter.
Paul Rodgers doesn’t need to seek or achieve any more acclaim in his celebrated career, and that rings true on this album. The commercial whiff of Take Love and the wonderfully laid-back Highway Robber just exudes the vibe of an artist happy and content with his lot.
Over 50 years in the game, Paul Rodgers is vocally unrivalled and will always be the singer others will never be.
- Coming Home
- Photo Shooter
- Midnight Rose
- Living It Up
- Dance in the Sun
- Take Love
- Highway Robber
To order, visit https://sunrecords.lnk.to/LivingItUp.