The veteran singer previews a one-off UK performance at London’s Royal Albert Hall in promotion of The Royal Sessions.
How happy were you with the reaction to The Royal Sessions, ten of your favourite blues, soul and R&B songs reprised?
I did it for myself, but it’s been wonderful. To have played with those guys [from the original Stax recordings] was chilling.
At the Albert Hall you’ll be backed by the same musicians that played on the record – presumably at great expense?
[Laughing, and in tones of an announcer] “Here, live, at great expense to the Copacabana…” But yeah, I wanted to bring everyone that was available; the singers, the Reverend Charles Hodges Senior [on keyboards], the strings and brass section… It’ll be wonderful.
And all proceeds are going to the Willows Animal Sanctuary in Aberdeenshire?
My wife Cynthia won’t see an animal mistreated. She tells me the place provides a sanctuary before heaven, and I support her one hundred per cent.
Is it frustrating to be typecast for one particular form of music?
Am I typecast? I’ve done Free and Bad Company but I’ve also done Queen. Direction-wise I’ve always just done what moves me.
But some of your fans might be disinclined to attend a soul or an R&B show by you.
Oh, I don’t worry about that. I’m not very interested in genres. A great song can be by John Lee Hooker, Otis Redding or Adele, for that matter. As far as I’m concerned the UK’s music fans have a lot of soul.
A lot of people will probably be wondering why you’re playing just the one date
We were lucky to get the guys I’ll be appearing with in London. I’m doing another Royal Sessions show in New York, but who knows what the future will bring. This is just a toe in the water.
And what do you expect to be doing next year?
I’ll be touring, but I’ve yet to decide whether it’ll be with Bad Company, solo or as a further extension of this Memphis soul project.
_Paul Rodgers plays London’s Royal Albert Hall on November 3. _