Mick Hucknall: A soul survivor

Tall Ships. Picture: Morgan Sinclair

Tall Ships aim to leave positive Impressions on their return to Brighton

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After 25 years together, blue-eyed soul group Simply Red called it a day and disbanded at the end of 2010.

But, having spent more than a quarter of a century writing, recording and performing (and selling more than 50 million albums), frontman and founder Mick Hucknall was not about to hang up his musical boots entirely.

Mick Hucknall

Mick Hucknall

He released his debut solo record, American Soul, in October.

It consists of 12 of his personal favourites from classic American soul, with the aim of giving an insight into the music that has inspired him throughout his career.

Highlights include I’d Rather Go Blind, I Only Have Eyes For You, Hope There’s Someone and Baby What Do You Want Me To Do, which was one of the first blues songs Mick ever heard.

He performed his first two solo shows, at the Royal Albert Hall in September.

Then, on Tuesday this week, he began his first solo tour.

In 2009, after announcing Simply Red were to split, he told The Guide: ‘As a music fan, 25 years ago, in my early 20s, I was a huge soul fan and, with Simply Red, I was expressing my admiration for that genre, exploring it.’

He also told us he was looking into some other genres.

‘I’m already writing new songs. It’s a new style for me – I’m aiming for something that’s more akin to who I really am – Irish, Scots and Basque.

‘I want to look inside Great Britain and Europe and use that as a beginning, as an influence,’ he said.

It’s a tantalising hint of what could be next for the singer.

But, for now, fans can enjoy his interpretations of the classic American soul that inspired Simply Red.

The American Soul tour comes to Portsmouth Guildhall on Tuesday from 7.30pm.

Tickets cost £35 to £50 from portsmouthguildhall.org.uk or (023) 9282 4355.

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