Permanent Press has released titles by Badfinger, Klaatu, the Breetles, and it is synonymous with pop music. Ray Paul, a Bostonian transplanted to Los Angeles, has pop sensibilities for sure, and his love of the genre is obvious from the titles he releases. A compilation of his recordings made mostly in Boston and spanning a four-year period from 1977-1981, Charles Beat (from the river Charles, as opposed to "The Mersey Beat") is accurate. Boston is a pop paradise, with the Cars, J. Geils, and even Aerosmith having created some real pop treasures.
The best track on the CD is a wonderful live cover of Marc Bolan's "Telegram Sam." The spontaneity missing in Paul's over-crafted studio performances is gone. The band explodes on "Telegram Sam" and perhaps that solves the problem with Paul's own music. He has always written a good pop tune, be it "Hold It" or "How Do You Know," but the studio versions feel like he was holding back somehow. On the live track, recorded for legendary Boston radio station WCOZ (and the hostess, Leslie Palmenter, writes the liners to this collection, a nice touch), there are elements that prove Ray Paul has the skills.
As with the entire disc, the newly recorded track of "Some Sing, Some Dance," which leads off Charles Beat, is almost a home run. Not a Ray Paul original, but a cover the artist has been fond of, he is joined by pop legend Emmit Rhodes on vocals. Rhodes recorded the hit "Live" with his band the Merry Go Round on A & M Records. He had a promising solo career on ABC Dunhill and looked and sounded like a young McCartney playing all the instruments à la Paul. "Some Sing, Some Dance" is exciting because it's the first track Ray Paul and Emmit Rhodes have put on disc for the world to hear. With his past properly compiled, a wonderful photo and liner note booklet is included. There is a glimpse of that potential on this disc.