Paul Cox & Charlie Fabert

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Paul Cox & Charlie Fabert ‘That’s What We Were Born For’ - Note NCD 1024 - Belgium

Zij ontmoetten elkaar op Kerstdag, een mooie dag om een muzikale verbintenis aan te gaan. De Britse zanger Paul Cox, geboren in 1959, en de jonge Franse gitarist Charlie Fabert, beiden gezegend met schrijverstalent, zagen een samenwerking wel zitten. Dit knap gevarieerd bluesalbum is het resultaat, grotendeels opgenomen in Engeland met Roger Cotton als producer. Deze speelt ook mee op keyboard en schreef mee aan enkele nummers, o.a. het ontroerende ‘I Can’t Change’, met mooie gitaarbegeleiding en een opwindend koortje. De backingzang van Val Cowell en Mandy Bell, als zuiverende wierook, brengen af en toe de Motown sound in herinnering.

Andere troeven zijn het duo hoornblazers Nick Payn en Matt Winch, die bijv. van ‘Burning Flame’ een weergaloos nummer maken, en de ritmesectie. Centraal staat echter de soulvolle zang van Paul Cox zelf, die aan zijn teksten eenzelfde gepassioneerd krachtveld hecht als Joe Cocker, Warren Haynes en Chris Farlowe. Van ‘You Were Never Mine’, cover van Delbert McClinton, maakt hij een gevoelvolle ballade en in het daarmee contrasterend rockende ‘Mean Disposition’ lanceert hij zich voluit. Een harmonica draagt geanimeerd bij tot het bluesy jubelsfeertje.

Al is Paul Cox in eigen land een beroemdheid en werkte hij samen met o.m. Eric Clapton en Frankie Miller, al vormde hij een eigen band en bracht hij al een dozijn albums uit, hier is hij nog niet echt bekend ook al passeerde hij reeds enkele keren in ons land. Charlie Fabert van zijn kant deelde het podium met ‘Ten Years After’, ‘Billy Price’ en Neal Black en lijkt dezelfde weg in te slaan als Fred Chapellier. Het zijn bijgevolg allebei doorwinterende bluesmannen die ondanks het leeftijdsverschil elkaar begrijpen, aanvoelen en complementeren, zowel in de funky songs als in de tragere slowblues, ten bewijze ook de songs die zij samen schreven.

Met zijn korrelige stem graaft Paul Cox zich werkelijk in in de gevoelskern van de song, zoals bij ‘It’s Getting Harder’ en het geëmotioneerd gezongen ‘Don’t Turn Off The Light’, beide favorieten. Het laatste vertolkt hij op een wijze alsof dit zijn laatste song wordt. Het geeft alleen maar blijk van de gevoelsgeladenheid van de zanger die de blues in zijn leven geïntegreerd heeft en in Charlie Fabert een medestander vond. Hopelijk blijven zij nog een tijd lang als duo eenzelfde bluesy traject afleggen, dat van de pure soulvolle blues.



They met on Christmas day, have a nice day to a musical undertaking. The British singer Paul Cox, born in 1959, and the young French guitarist Charlie Fabert, both blessed with writers talent, saw a cooperation. This handsome varied blues album is the result, largely included in England with Roger Cotton as a producer. This also plays on keyboards and co-wrote some songs, including the touching ' I Can't Change ', with beautiful guitar accompaniment and an exciting. The backing vocals of Val Cowell and Mandy Bell, as purifying occasionally bring incense, the Motown sound in memory.

Other strengths are the duo Horn blowers Nick Payn and Matt Winch, which e.g. of ' Burning Flame ', a matchless and the rhythm section number. However, central to the soulful vocals of Paul Cox himself, who to his lyrics as Joe Cocker, attaches the same passionate force field Warren Haynes and Chris Farlowe. Of ' You Were Never Mine ', cover of Delbert McClinton, he makes a soulful ballad and in the contrasting rocking ' Mean Disposition he launches ' in full. A harmonica to the bluesy jubel bears animated atmosphere.

Though Paul Cox and a celebrity in his own country he worked with Eric Clapton and Frankie Miller, he formed his own band and he brought already already a dozen albums, here he is not really known even though he already passed several times in our country. Charlie Fabert, for its part, has shared the stage with ' Ten Years After ', ' Billy Price ' and Neal Black and seems to be the same path as Fred Chapellier. They are therefore both doorwinterende blues men who despite the age difference, understanding each other, both in the funky feel and complement in the slower songs like slowblues, certifying also the songs that they wrote together.

With his gritty voice really Paul Cox in digs in the feeling core of the song, as with ' it's Getting Harder ' and the emotional Sung ' Don't Turn Off The Light ', both favorites. The last he performed in a manner as if this is his last song. The only sign of the emotional freight of the singer who has integrated the blues in his life and found a supporter in Charlie Fabert. Hopefully they still remain the same as a duo for a time, that of the pure journey bluesy soulful blues.


Paul Cox & Charlie Fabert ‘That’s What We Were Born For’ - Note NCD 1024

Passionate and powerful vocalist Paul Cox is well known to rock, blues and soul fans alike having been championed by the likes of Paul Jones, Frankie Miller and Chris Barber. With a voice like Chris Farlow and with a solid back catalogue of solo albums as well a locker full of songs he’s been waiting far too long for a big breakthrough. Champagne based French guitarist Charlie Fabert is less known over here, but has made a significant impact in his own country with sell-out shows at leading Parisian venues. And ‘That’s What We Were Born For’ proves to be an astute inter-generational pairing, both in terms of a promising song writing partnership and the duo’s natural on stage frisson.

Cox and Faber contribute four new songs, while the keyboard playing producer Roger Cotton adds two of his own and oversees a set of flowing songs that showcases the band’s natural exuberance, cool sophistication and an inherent warm soulful feel.

There’s rock, blues, soul, funk, swing, emotive ballads, superb horns and potent backing vocals on album dominated by Paul Cox, but subtly underpinned by Charlie Faber, the tastiest guitarist on the block.

The undeniable soulful connection is provided by songs such as the Richie Milton penned ‘It’s Getting Harder’, which makes the most of a splendid horn arrangement and an excellent vocal performance from Paul. His unforced phrasing and elongated notes put him a notch above most of his contemporaries. He digs deep to make the most of Delbert McClinton’s ‘You Were Never Mine’, subtly altering his pitch and timbre to bring real feel to a blighted love story. Only some overbearing bv’s slightly detract from a top notch soulful ballad. Charlie adds the most delicate of solos suggesting he’s a gifted player with a real feel well beyond his young years. In many respects ‘That’s What We Were Born For’ is the kind of album Paul Cox fans have been waiting for years, but there’s an integral triumvirate partnership at the heart of this record, with Cox and Fabert developing their songs and Roger Cotton shaping things up with a coherent production.

For his part Charlie locks into the grooves and adds occasional steely licks on the opening ‘Big Change Is Gonna Come’ while on the swampy groove of  ‘One Night Stand’ there’s a lyrical quality to match the musical excellence, as Paul bemoans the fact that ‘One day I’m a soul mate, next day I’m a one night stand’. Charlie initially cranks up his tone alongside Alan Glen’s wailing harp and the staccato horns of ‘Mean Disposition’ and adds a tough solo as the ensemble lean into the song and work towards its call and response resolution.

There’s a well judged three part harmony intro to the gospel influenced sing-along ‘Burning Flame’ with features a strong melody, another subtle horn arrangement and a cool break from Charlie on the kind of song that will surely stretch out and become a live favourite.

‘Be Good To Yourself’ reconnects Paul with his Frankie Miller past as the band bluster and funk their way through the Andy Fraser penned Frankie Miller favourite. Roger Cotton adds rolling piano and as is often the case Charlie plays a short and sweet flighty solo.

Roger Cotton contributes one of the album highlights with the excellent ballad ‘I Can’t Change’ on which Paul phrases superbly and brings soulful restraint to bear on an emotive song. Charlie and the horn section play double lines to emphasize the lovely melody of a moving song, There’s just time for Charlie  to add a beautifully  nuanced solo full of delightful ringing notes as Roger Cotton’s mellifluous piano part acts as the perfect foil. It doesn’t get much better than this.

‘Don’t Turn Off The Light’ is probably one ballad too many though, as Paul brings a soul man’s sense of drama on the fade out. And the closing title cut sounds curiously like a bonus track and finds the duo fronting a French band with Charlie contributing some angular notes as Paul attacks the vocal with his usual ebullience.

‘That’s What We Were Born For’ is probably a bit more soul heavy than we might have anticipated but it’s a thoughtfully conceptualised, well produced album with strong songs and the beginnings of a potentially durable Cox/Fabert partnership that promises rich rewards.

**** (4/5)

© Pete Feenstra 

That's What Weíre Born For
Note Records NCD 1024
Genre - Soul / Blues
Star rating 8/10

This is the first fruit of a fascinating musical partnership. Paul Cox a long established vocalist on the UK Blues / Soul team and young French guitarist Charlie Fabert who is widely recognized as one of the very best of a young generation of French musicians. The album features some of the UKís finest players; Roger Cotton on Keyboards who also produced, Nigel Hardy on bass, Pete Stroud on drums. Some of the work was done in France and includes Phillipe Dendromont on drums and Vartan Feoux on keyboards. There are also appearances by Alan Glen on harmonica and Val Cowell & Mandy Bell on backing vocals.

We here at LBI are always amazed that Paul Cox is not at the very top of the tree in the UK and it reflects sadly on the music industry here that such talent is so undervalued. Will this album do the trick? Well it is very good of its kind ñ it's almost retro soul and captures some of the sound and feel of classic Stax sound. Charlies guitar is outstanding, it lilts and weaves around the vocal lines and manages to contribute a lot without sounding at all hackneyed. The songs are pretty good, especially ëItís Getting Harderí and Paul & Charlies own Burning Flame, í and the title track. As always Roger Cotton contributes a couple of titles to add to his long list of credits - the opener "Big Change is Gonna Come" and "I Caní' Changeí" It's got a good feel throughout and is possibly the best record Paul has made. We would have preferred a slightly dirtier sound, slightly more of a live feel, but that's just us.

See Paul Cox live and he's a real dynamo; the on-stage magic between him and Charlie is a joy to watch and listen to. This doesn't quite capture that but it comes close. It's a radio friendly sound and it should do Paul and Charlie a lot of good. If there is any justice then this will take Paul up a few notches. He certainly deserves and we wish him & Charlie well. We look forward to the next album very much; add a couple of real rockers to the mix and youíll make us very happy indeed.

Review Team

Read the LIVE BLUES. INFO interview with Paul Cox...’s-finest-and-the-french-connection/