Paul Carrack sang lead on the 1974 Ace hit, "How Long" and on last year's Squeeze hit "Tempted." He played keyboards on the recent albums by Carlene Carter and her hubby, Nick Lowe. All these past collaborations pay off on Carrack's debut solo album, "Suburban Voodoo." Squeeze, Carter and producer Lowe all contribute compositions, but the overall tone is the warm, percolating blue-eyed soul of Ace. Carrack's grainy R&B voice is framed by Lowe's new-wave band, as if Michael McDonald had joined Rockpile instead of the Doobie Brothers.
The dozen songs are sturdily crafted pop about the pleasures of falling in love, including the Billy Swan imitation "(You're Going to be the Death of Me, But) What a Way to Go." Carrack's re-working of Squeeze's "Out of Touch" reveals how much his singing helped that band. Carrack, Carter & Lowe's "Don't Give My Heart a Break" has a radiant melody that Carrack milks. Carrack may not be the most ambitious of Lowe's pub-rock friends, but he's that crowd's best singer this side of Graham Parker. ON RECORD, ON STAGE THE ALBUM PAUL CARRACK: Suburban Voodoo (Epic, ARE 38161). THE SHOW: Paul Carrack & Noise to Go, featuring Nick Lowe, Sunday at 8 and 11 at the Bayou.