Love and the Russian Winter

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Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
A loaf of rye, a jug of vodka, and a copy of this melty disc would pretty much guarantee a season-long spate of romance, on or off the Siberian tundra. But while the warm, burnished tones of the arrangements -- and of Mick Hucknall's fire-and-ice voice -- make a beeline for the heart's inner spaces, a fair number of the album's 11 songs aim for the head as well. Hucknall has always been a keen observer, as far back as "Money's Too Tight to Mention," and this time around he's outdone himself with passionate treatises like "Man Made the Gun" and the millennial anthem "Wave the Old World Goodbye," both of which are shot through with an everyman worldview that's both ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
A loaf of rye, a jug of vodka, and a copy of this melty disc would pretty much guarantee a season-long spate of romance, on or off the Siberian tundra. But while the warm, burnished tones of the arrangements -- and of Mick Hucknall's fire-and-ice voice -- make a beeline for the heart's inner spaces, a fair number of the album's 11 songs aim for the head as well. Hucknall has always been a keen observer, as far back as "Money's Too Tight to Mention," and this time around he's outdone himself with passionate treatises like "Man Made the Gun" and the millennial anthem "Wave the Old World Goodbye," both of which are shot through with an everyman worldview that's both easily digested and provocative. LOVE AND THE RUSSIAN WINTER isn't exclusively heavy going, though: Hucknall is remarkably effective in making the segue from such topics to the honeyed eroticism of "Your Eyes" and "Ain't That a Lot of Love." That duality has made Simply Red one of pop music's more fascinating, wholly original entities for a decade and a half, and long may they smolder on.
All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Simply Red entered a holding pattern after 1991's Stars, turning out two records in a row that essentially replicated its charms, only with diminishing returns. Mick Hucknall must have realized he was stagnating, since 1999's Love and the Russian Winter is the first time since Stars that he's shaken up his sound. It's still recognizably Simply Red, as it trades in '70s soul and jazz-pop influences, but there are a number of reasonably contemporary influences added into the mix. As it turns out, these influences are largely based in house music, which means that Simply Red took some weird middle ground between Everything But the Girl and Soul II Soul. Still, these changes are welcome, since they've revitalized Hucknall and his collaborators, Andy Wright and Gota Yashiki. They're willing to try different sounds and write in different idioms. Occasionally, they might sound as if they're forcing matters somewhat, but there's also a number of gems that pop up on the album, from "The Spirit of Life" to "The Sky Is a Gypsy." And while the title may imply that Love and the Russian Winter is a concept album of sorts, that's not true -- Hucknall and company have reserved their ambitions for their refurbished production instead of channeling them into a song cycle. That's for the best, actually, since Simply Red works the best on a song-by-song basis, particularly when they rely on love songs the millennium farewell "Wave the Old World Goodbye" is one of the more awkward moments on the record. Love and the Russian Winter doesn't quite rise to the level of the group's strongest records, but it's a refreshing change of pace from an outfit who seemed to have gone stagnant.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/13/2008
  • Label: Atlantic Uk
  • UPC: 639842994224
  • Catalog Number: 429942

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Simply Red Primary Artist
Greg Bone Guitar
Mick Hucknall Vocals, Background Vocals
Ian Kirkham Saxophone
Kevin Robinson Trumpet
Damo Suzuki Guitar
Tim Vine Bass, Keyboards
Gota Yashiki Bass, Drums
Chris DeMargary Flute, Saxophone
Andy Wright Bass, Keyboards
Dee Johnson Background Vocals
James Wiltshire Keyboards
Geoff Holroyde Drums
Aidan Love Keyboards
Mark Jaimes Guitar
John Johnson Trombone
Sara Brown Background Vocals
Phillipe Manjard Keyboards
Wayne Stobbart Bass
Dom T Keyboards
Technical Credits
Al Clay Engineer
Alan Douglas Engineer
Mick Hucknall Producer, Artwork, Horn Arrangements
Gota Yashiki Programming, Producer
John Lee Engineer
Andy Wright Programming, Producer
Kevin Metcalfe Mastering
James Wiltshire Programming, Engineer
Matt White Engineer
Matthew White Engineer
Merv Pearson Programming, Producer
Agm Producer
Mark Togashi Engineer
Ned Douglas Programming
Peacock Artwork
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