Yesterday, going about some business in the centre of York, I discovered to my pleasure that in April 2013 York Barbican plays host to ex-Simply Red frontman Mick Hucknall.

The pleasure derived from knowing where not to be in April 2013, I should add. Forewarned, etc. However, my interest was piqued by the proposed content. Phucknall is touring with his current solo album of covers, ‘American Soul’, which has received lukewarm reviews.

I thought immediately of Rod Stewart’s interminable ‘Great American Songbook’ series, and similar ‘foolish things’ by male singers of a certain age. I suppose it is a rite and right that artists pay homage to their influences, but that “American classics = proper songsmithing = me serious chanteur”… it’s all been done.

What I’d really like to see is an album by Rod, or Tom Jones, or someone, stretching themselves by celebrating Great British songs. Not your Novello, Coward, etc, as revived in nouveau music hall entertainments going on as I type. I mean proper British songs: “Henery VIII”, “Any Old Iron”, “Burlington Bertie”, “Leaning on a Lamppost”, that sort of thing. Arguably, anyone can croon a torch song. Comic timing takes real genius.

We do not need the likes of Hucknall reducing “That’s How Strong My Love Is” to a pomme puree. We DO need Bryan Ferry singing “With My Little Stick of Blackpool Rock”.

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