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Review: Paul Brady, Hooba Dooba

Paul Brady
Hooba Dooba
[Proper American Records (2011)]

Paul Brady, one of Ireland’s best-known singer-songwriters, has released Hooba Dooba, his 12th solo album, and believe me, it’s cause for some fireworks or at least a few “yip yip” yodels at your nearest Irish bar. Known primarily in America for writing crafty hit songs for others like Bonnie Raitt (“Luck of the Draw”), Brooks & Dunn (“The Long Goodbye”), Tina Turner (“Paradise is Here”), Maura O’Connell (“Helpless Heart”), and Santana (“Steal Your Heart Away”), Paul Brady songs have been performed by just about everybody in Show Biz who appreciates a good melody and some sparkling meaningful (heartfelt) lyrics. Dave Edmunds, Phil Collins, Dan Seals, Johnny Hallyday, Paul Young, Brian Kennedy, Dar Ar Bras, Dolores Keane, Art Garfunkel, Lucy Kaplansky, Cher, Trisha Yearwood, Joe Dolan, Cliff Richard, Joe Cocker, Ronan Keating, and John Prine are just some of the true believers. To say he’s “talented” would be an understatement, as even Bob Dylan, no slouch when it comes to song writing, says he’s one of his six favorite songsters (along with Leonard Cohen, John Prine, Tom Waits, David Allen Coe, Lou Reed). Kudos aside, this album rocks the Casbah or certainly Delaney’s Tap Room.

“Storyteller” is Brady’s middle name, and each song on Hooba Dooba has a storyline worth listening to in front of a roaring fire with a good bottle wine. Whether he’s exploring the fragile nature of patchwork relationships (“Living the Mystery”), glorifying the fortitude of groove-blessed luck (“The Winners’ Ball”), picking apart the ebb and flow of family dynamics (“Mother and Son”), or sinking his teeth into the knife-edge rollercoaster ride of celebrity (“The Price of Fame”), Paul Brady throws enough wood on the fire to keep you warm, toasty, and engaged. Special guests Jerry Douglas on lap steel and Sarah Siskind on backing vocals are a special treat to this exceptional album.

—TJ McGrath (Woodbridge, CT)

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