Settle down for a comfortable album.
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Me and Joan Osborne didn’t get off to the best of starts. After popping up on a Motown documentary, she did something that only The Who have ever got away with. She tried to cover the mighty Martha Reeves.
So, a little irked at her unashamed bash at Motown, I was expecting something similar on her new album Bring It On Home. Then a sneaky Google revealed that she was in no way related to America’s favourite bat eating loon and was actually the blonde beauty behind the 90’s sing-a-long stunner One Of Us. I made an excited squeeing noise, she was immediately forgiven her for her dabble in the 60’s and bang, the disk was in my player.
On the album, she’s snubbed the poppy, predictability of her major hit, favouring instead the bluesy classics that she inhaled as a rising bombshell on the NY scene.
A whole album of covers is usually a bit of a naff concept. Because, unless you’re Mark Ronson and his Midas magic keyboard that turns anything into audio gold, you run the risk of looking a tad desperate and tediously out of ideas. If you’re looking for wildly out-there beats and innovative sounds, you’re very much in the wrong place. However, if you’re hankering for sophisticated bluesy tones to enhance your boozy dinner parties, her gravelly voice is the perfect side dish.
She kicks things off with Ray Charles’ I Don’t Need No Doctor, an upbeat, vintage, jazzy track, setting the sultry tone for the rest of the album.
She excels herself on Shake Your Hips, giving Seasick Steve a run for his well-earned money. A delicious stampede of harmonicas and fast pace riffs, you’ll be shunning your Ipod and Frappucino and mentally transporting yourself to a sepia tinted sexy world of vinyl and whisky. It’s only when things calm down a bit on Champagne And Wine, that you start to get restless. Her Otis Redding rendition is soulful but uninspired, proving that if you’re going to pay homage to the king of soul, a little umph is vital.
Yet, the rest of the time, her voice is a spangly gem in a world of piercing autotune. Title track Bring It On Home, will have you slowly sinking into her vocals like you would a plush leather sofa. And you never know, you might even find some loose change while you’re there.
Joan Osborne’s Bring It On Home is released June 4th
Words: Clemence Flamee