Album review: PAUL KING – A Baker’s Dozen

PAUL KING – A Baker's Dozen

Angel Air [Release date 22.05.20]

Britpop band, Mungo Jerry had nine charting singles and two number ones, but all everyone remembers is ‘In The Summertime’.

For the song’s writer and singer, Paul King, it has never been the albatross it could have become. Instead he used it as a springboard into new opportunities, travelling the world in the company of rock giants, The Faces, Deep Purple, Canned Heat and many others.

And now, 50 years later, King has celebrated that milestone by recording a self penned album comprising six new songs, liberally leavened with choice selections of older material.

Of the older, now re-recorded material, two songs in particular stand out.

The lyricising of a working class romance, set to a backdrop of dreamy, dancey guitars on ‘Will You Kiss, Will You Dance’ (from the 2014 album of the same name) is the perfect start, confirming King’s songwriting craftsmanship and storytelling art. ‘Sugarcane’ (originally on 1995 album “Houdini’s Moon”) reinforces his versatility as a writer. It’s full of whispered, romantic moments, with King’s voice, now a careworn, lived in tenor, adding emotional texture to a real, heart-on-his-sleeve rock song.

The arrangements of the new songs make more of an initial impression. The galloping cowboy stomp and rude acoustic strums of ‘Dressed To Kill’; the even further pared down rock song, ‘Have You Seen My Gal’, and ‘Coming Home’s foot tapping, banjo pickin’ good time, jug band clamour. They all aspire to true, no-frills storytelling.

And King’s voice, which has always had a kind of world weary persona, now seems informed by experience, like a stamp of authenticity, telling us that these songs, stitched together from a myriad ideas, are still the currency in which he trades.

Review by Brian McGowan

David Randall plays a selection of new and classic rock in his weekly show first broadcast 14 June 2020 including reference to the Feature series “2020 Vision”.

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