If veteran Irish folk-rock singer/songwriter Paul Brady is better known for providing material to other singers than for his own versions of his compositions, that isn't because his performances are lacking in any way. Rather, with his husky, sonorous light baritone and sturdy arrangements, he gives his songs excellent showcases, here on his 2010 album Hooba Dooba as on his earlier ones. It's just that he is such a craftsman, creating gem-like works with universal appeal, that it's easy to imagine his tunes being covered by others, as they frequently are. Hooba Dooba isn't going to change the overall assessment of Brady, although it may add several coverable titles to his songwriting catalog. The Caribbean feel of "Rainbow," for instance, seems just right for Jimmy Buffett, a singer who has always mixed his own songwriting in his repertoire with quality material incorporated from others. And the closer, "Living the Mystery," seems like another Brady song that Van Morrison could handle well; in fact, Morrison's voice simply could be overdubbed on the instrumental track. Of course, another way of putting this matter is to say that Brady's writing is never so individual that nobody else could do it. Coming out of an established Irish folk tradition, he aspires to write and perform timeless songs such as his paeans to stick-to-it-iveness "Cry It Out" and "The Winners' Ball," and the folk-country stomper "Follow That Star" (co-written with Nashville's Gary Nicholson). He succeeds in that goal on Hooba Dooba, which may be plundered for material and earn him some more publishing royalties as a result.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann