Blue-eyed soul (also known as white soul) is rhythm and blues and soul music performed by white artists and let’s be totally honest, there are not many better at doing that than Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall.

Simply Red are back with their first album in four years, and their twelfth in total spanning their twenty-nine-year career. And this is the album that all Simply Red lovers have been waiting for Hucknall to make and make it he has. It is hardly surprising then that they have chosen to name it Blue Eyed Soul.

From the opening bars of lead track Thinking Of You, you know instantly that you are in for a treat. There are ten tracks filled with funky undertones, brassy soul overtones and a driving horn section which could almost be The JB’s, featuring Fred Wesley, Maceo Parker, et al; this is simply Hucknall at the very top of his game.

The album was recorded at the British Grove Studios in London, with all tracks being written by Hucknall and once again, ably produced by long-time collaborator Andy Wright. With soul running through his veins evidenced with his absolutely stunning cover of the Philly soul musical group Harold Melvin And The Blue Notes, If You Don’t Know Me By Now, Hucknall picks up with this album where he left off.

Having been quoted as saying “I wanted to push my voice a little harder, challenge it a little bit, and give myself something to really sing to”, and with this album he has managed just that. All ten tracks on Blue Eyed Soul are, without a shadow of a doubt, some of the best, if not the best, recordings that Hucknall has delivered during his long and illustrious career.

Drawing upon inspirations from the likes of Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, Isaac Hayes and the Godfather himself, Mr James Brown, some of the tracks are simply classic funk. It is almost as though the spirit of the late, great man was there in person during the recording of the album.

The standout track is BadBootz, which is full of funky bass lines, sumptuous guitar riffs, a marvellous brass section, and some wonderful synth playing. BadBootz is pure James Brown but on this occasion, Simply Red are delivering on their own terms.

Ring That Bell, a simple song lyrically, serves as a further opportunity for Simply Red to get deep-down and dirty, whilst Sweet Child and Complete Love are destined to be the unforgettable ballads that they are.

If you are looking for a good time, then you must look no further than Blue Eyed Soul, as that is exactly what you get, so much so that you have your Satisfaction Guaranteed but if you don’t then sadly, you won’t be able to take your love back.

Number of tracks: 10

Running time: 34:02

Released on: BMG Rights Management (UK) Ltd

Release date: 8th November 2019

Our Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)