domingo, 23 de octubre de 2011

CD - Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa - Don't Explain (2011)


What happens when a blues-rock singer meets a blues guitarist? ‘Don’t Explain’... well, let’s just a little bit... BETH HART and JOE BONAMASSA befriended each other as they met often on the road, one thing led to another - that being a musical collaboration on this ambitious and impressive album of covers of the old days’ greats... such as BILLIE HOLIDAY, ETTA JAMES, ARETHA FRANKLIN and so on...
The album opens with Sinner’s Prayer, a song written by Lloyd C. Glen and LOWELL FULSON who originally sung it, and covered by RAY CHARLES and B.B. KING which is the one the duo take on here and it proves as a great choice to kick this off with. The whole project can be a daunting task but BETH HART steps into the song and owns it, her voice is quite beautiful, richly textured, BONAMASSA’s guitar work impeccable and passionate, here belting blues riffs. After it comes one of my favourites, ‘Chocolate Jesus’, a TOM WAITS song, rhythmic and dead cool song, of course there with great lyrics of the great smoky voiced man’s poetic streak to be thoroughly enjoyed except this superbly performed cover. ‘Your Heart Is As Black As Night’ is another to savour. In both I’ve also loved the piano enriching each mood. ‘For My Friend’ (BILL WITHERS) is more rock-blues song with a touch of funk in the guitar work underlined by heavier bass.The album-titled ‘Don’t Explain’ of BILLIE HOLIDAY puts you into a cool jazzy cafe where a manifold cigarette smoke engulfs you into a nostalgically painful mood as your heroine reflects on her two timing lover. There’s also orchestra to supplement the evocative atmosphere. HART’s voice is like the fashion of 30’s - 40’s sexy elegance. After this two of ETTA JAMES covers follow; ‘I'd Rather Go Blind’ is a quite a chill-out song even though its lyrics of course tell of a love story, which as all good ones are, is intense. To juxtapose it ‘Something’s Got A Hold On Me’ ups the tempo into the lively dance mood that will get your feet want to get movin’ and groovin’. Apart from ETTA JAMES, GIL SCOTT-HERON, who died this year, covered this song also and the cover of ‘I’ll Take Of You’ that follows is all the more poignant. ‘Well, Well’ a rockabilly duet brings JOE BONAMASSA into the front singing also, and underlines how great those two are together. Great musical chemistry indeed! The album closes with ‘Ain’t No Way’, again quite quiet and yet intense piece. Dreamy and slow to punctuate this album with yet even more greatness.
BETH HART’s voice is simply outstanding throughout; she infuses her voice with a great soul, heart and intelligence, everything she takes into it gives the stories of the songs in an evocative, moving way full of warmth, life richly experienced. I once read in some Buddhist book that if one leaves this life with unfulfilled desires, they will manifest in the next one. Of course higher souls know life on Earth sucks so they’ll empty themselves of all desires not to be here again. Being a lower soul, I think that one of my wishes will be “please let me have a voice and talent like hers in the next life!” Not forgetting JOE BONAMASSA, he’s extremely talented guitarist and matches her skills superbly. This album is brilliant. It’s difficult to stand to task against songs such as they chose but they have done so exceptionally well. The covers not only pay respect and love to the originals and to those great artists who sung and performed them before but they are unique in their own stead. They inhabited the songs and breathed a new life into them. It’s simple - go & get this album!

Beth Hart
– Vocals
Joe Bonamassa
– Vocals,Guitars
Blondie Chaplin – Guitar
Carmine Rosas – Bass
Arlan Scheirbaum
– Keyboards
Anton Fig
– Drums,Percussion

1-Sinner's Prayer (Ray Charles w/ B.B. King)
2-Chocolate Jesus (Tom Waits)
3-Your Heart Is As Black As Night (Melody Gardot)
4-For My Friend (Bill Withers)
5-Don't Explain (Billie Holiday)
6-I'd Rather Go Blind (Etta James)
7-Something's Got A Hold On Me (Etta James)
8-I'll Take Care Of You (Gil Scott-Heron)
9-Well, Well (Delaney & Bonnie)
10-Ain't No Way (Aretha Franklin)
11-I'll Take Care Of You BONUS TRACK

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