Henry Padovani I Love Today

Padovani has a voice that just envelops you; deep and dark and with a beautiful Corsican accent, even when he whispers he resonates.
Couple that with a brilliant collection of songs, many from Padovani but also Bolan, George Harrison, Lennon and Jaques Brel, and a close and jazzy – and utterly French – presentation and you get something rather special.

Opening with the title track he has a sound that brings to mind Sacha Distel in the style of Lou Reed. He has a smile in his voice and the whole song just rolls along like a stroll in the summer sunshine. Dick Taylor of the Pretty Things plays bass on it (as he did with Stephen Dale Petit and before that the nascent Rollin’ Stones) and producer Mark St John adds drums.

The feel of the album is relaxed but he builds emotional depth and sparkling wit and the heart and soul of Henry Padovani lays itself bare and prostrate: it is impossible not to feel for him and you find you are rolling his words around in your head, listening to that sardonic smile and just enjoying the heck out of it all.

His own songs clearly fit his voice and presentation perfectly but when he covers a number such as Bolan’s ‘Lean Love’ he makes the song his own, as far removed from Marc Bolan as possible. Or there is ‘Nature Boy’: an absolute classic and recorded time after time but he adds gravitas and somehow releases a questioning side to the song that I hadn’t heard before.

His own ‘Skeleton Blues’ is unbelievably dark and macabre – how he makes that growl is beyond me.
Lorenzo Moufflier adds some superb harmonica on the traditional ‘Brother, Sister, Preacher’ and ‘Lean Love’ and a new name to me, Amy Gibb, delivers some lovely clarinet.

Mark St John’s production is sparse and bare but that just makes the whole affair more real and more intense .

The album closes on Jaques Brel’s ‘Ne Me Quitte Pas’ and the darkness and bleakness of his vocal sends chills up your spine. The only versions that I can compare it to are Edith Piaf or Nina Simone and as a closer it leaves you gasping and stifling the tears as you reach out to cue the album up again