Paul Black – Beautiful Sin | Album Review

Paul Black – Beautiful Sin

Self-Release – 2024

11 tracks; 47 minutes

Paul Black is based on the West coast of Canada, and this is his third album release. There are ten originals written by Paul, plus a cover of a Commodores tune. Paul sings, plays guitar, harp and bass, aided by Malcom Cooley and Curtis Lieppi who share the drum duties and producer Wynn Gogol who plays occasional keyboards: backing vocalists Carrie-Ann Lieppi and Sarah Smith contribute backing vocals to five tracks between them.

Paul has the sort of gravelly, whisky-soaked voice that fits the blues-rock style well and he plays both slide and lead guitar. Opener “Howl And Moan” is appropriately titled as Paul’s vocals and fierce slide do exactly that on a tune with a Mississippi Hill Country feel. The title track moves from an acoustic opening to electric guitar stylings in the middle section as Paul is captivated by a girl who is, for him, the epitome of “Beautiful Sin”: “You found a new way of breaking my heart”. The chugging rocker
“Live It Like Ur Never Gonna Die” completes a fairly aggressive trio of songs, this one adding some harp accompaniment to the mix before “Better Man” brings a touch of country rock to the album with Paul’s guitar work sounding very much like Dickey Betts, the backing vocals also very effective here. “Let It Rain” is a familiar title but is not the Clapton song, rather a tune with a hypnotic chug behind slide and harp that builds in intensity as the tune develops, again invoking the Hill Country style.

“Never Go Home” drops the pace for some sweet guitar set over warm organ as Paul adopts a smoother vocal style for a ballad that works well. We are soon back to a more rocking style on “The Way”, Paul’s keening slide again set against the keyboards and some thumping drums while the busy “How Long” has lots of wah-wah guitar on a stop-start tune that brought early Zeppelin to mind and “Losing Your Love” is a catchy tune more in radio-friendly pop style. The cover of The Commodores “Brick House” involves backing vocals while the keys substitute for the horn stabs on the original as Paul plays some tough wah-wah and slide in the middle solo before closing the album with the slide-driven heavy rock of “Go On Home”.

This album does not have any straight blues but certainly rocks out on several tunes, so if you enjoy that style of blues-rock this may be of interest to you.

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