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Music Review: Paul Brady – Hooba Dooba

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Paul Brady is one of those musicians who has traveled mostly under the radar during his now four-plus decade career, yet has continued to produce enjoyable and listenable music along the way.

He was born in Northern Ireland during 1947 and began playing the piano at age six and the guitar at 11. By the mid-1960s he was playing in various British rhythm & blues bands that were popular at the time.  He took a completely different career path in 1967 when he joined the traditional Irish folk group, The Johnstons, with whom he stayed until their dissolution during 1978.

He began his solo career during the late 1970s. He originally moved in a pop/rock direction but lately his albums have contained a more eclectic mix of styles and sounds, which reflect the many influences of his long career.

His latest studio album, Hooba Dooba, has just been released. It moves in a number of directions, as you can find love ballads, up-tempo blues, folk tunes, and even some American country here and there. It may not add up to a cohesive whole, but it is always interesting. When each song is taken on its own, you will find well-crafted and slickly produced music.

The music meanders across many styles and types. “Follow That Star” could have emerged from the Southern Delta as it channels the blues of Mississippi John Hurt and Lead Belly. He travels in a completely different direction with “Mother and Son,” which is an autobiographical tune about his relationship with his mother after her passing.

He covered one of his most famous compositions by recording “Luck Of The Draw” for the first time. His own interpretation twists the song all out of shape until it does not come close to resembling Bonnie Raitt’s more famous version.

“The Winner’s Ball” settles into a nice groove as it is a whimsical look at the excesses of modern music. “Rainbow” is a country hit in waiting for some artist to cover, similar to Brooks & Dunn taking his “The Long Goodbye” to the top of the country charts. “One More Today” travels a different path as it would be a fine addition to The Great American Songbook.

Hooba Dooba is a nonsensical phrase for pure enjoyment, which makes it an accurate description for the album. Paul Brady is a survivor and here he shows that he is alive and well.

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