It seems that with the advent of streaming playlists singles are coming back. Listening to a few, or even dozens of tracks in a row, it just so happens that some, for whatever reason, stick out. It could be the melody, just an incessant riff or a beat, or the sound of the singer’s voice.
With Toronto’s Chris Birkett and his single ‘Precious Love,’ it is certainly the latter. Not that any other element here is lacking. It is an almost perfectly executed country-soul ballad with some upfront saxophone (Gene Hardy) in the style of late great Clarence Clemons, who made the sound of Bruce Springsteen’s band so characteristic.
But it is Birkett’s slightly raspy voice that drives this song home and makes it stand out from the crowd. Otherwise, it might have ended up as just yet another smooth-sounding music wallpaper.
The lyrics don’t fall back either, but Birkett’s voice makes them sound better than they might otherwise:
Poetry talks about the connection
between material worlds and the divine
I thought that love was passion and attraction
but they just light the way that made you mine
The assuredness of Birkett’s sound might stem from the fact that he’s been around for a while, performing with the likes of folk legend Buffy Sainte-Marie. What could have been a muzak disaster is lifted into a song that stands out from the pack of similar stuff that tries to invoke that feeling depicted on the cover.