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Posted August 23, 2005 by publisher in Cuban Music

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On Tuesday, October 18, 2005, Simply Red will release “Simplified,” a collection that features both stripped-down versions of the band’s classic songs as well as fresh recordings. This unique new album, available on the Verve Forecast label, allows the songs and unmistakable voice of Mick Hucknall to shine.

“Simplified” takes more well-known tracks from Simply Red’s impressive back catalog and re-imagines them in a more acoustic—“simplified”—fashion. It also includes their stunning take on the Leon Russell classic, “A Song For You.”

Hucknall was inspired to revisit some of Simply Red’s hits after he was asked to perform some material with only a piano as accompaniment. “What struck me when I listened back to the performance was just how much the song leapt out at you in those circumstances,” he says. Classic Simply Red songs such as “Something Got Me Started,” “Sad Old Red,” “Smile,” and “Ev’ry Time We Say Goodbye” are reinvigorated thanks to these sophisticated, even jazzy, new arrangements. One of the group’s most popular hits, “Holding Back The Years,” is beautiful and still lush; recognizable, but with an added timeless maturity. Other songs featured on “Simplified” include “More,” “Your Mirror,” “Fairground,” and “For Your Babies.”

The lead-off track and first single from “Simplified” is the irresistible, upbeat, and distinctly Latin-flavored “Perfect Love.” The Cuban vibe of this sensual new song is amplified by the vocals of Havana-based singer Danae. A Latin feeling runs throughout “Simplified,” inspired by the band’s recent visit to Cuba. In fact, Simply Red is the first English pop band to have played in Havana, as they appeared at the landmark Gran Teatro early in 2005.

“Simplified” is the follow-up to 2003’s highly successful “Home,” which sold over 2.5 million copies worldwide. That release helped push the band to a level of over 50 million albums sold since forming 21 years ago. Although Simply Red’s lineup of musicians has rotated throughout the years, the one constant has been Mick Hucknall, one of the finest male vocalists Britain has ever produced, and also one of its most accomplished, melodic, and prolific pop songwriters.

“Simplified” [B0005479-02] available on CD October 18, 2005.

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