Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa
Label: J&R Adventures, LLC
Reviewed: October, 2011
If I was some sort of quirky scientist fooling around with cloning experiments, I would likely be the type who would mix up various peoples’ DNA to see what I could come up with. However, I’m not (I don’t even play one on TV) but I think someone else is.
Why, you ask?
Because I think someone has cloned Janis Joplin, Bonnie Bramlett, Melissa Etheridge and Amy Winehouse into one person and named her “Beth Hart”. I know that I’ve definitely heard her music over the years – I just didn’t know who it was singing. Yeah, I am embarrassed to say that I’ve only now “discovered” her via her collaboration with Joe Bonamassa on their CD, Don’t Explain.
See, being a Bonamassa fan pays more dividends than just hearing his great music.
As I said in my review of Joe’s album, Dust Bowl, I learned my lesson about trying to catch a hot CD while it was in-stock in the stores. When I saw this collaboration announced online, I pre-ordered it so that I could be sure to have it while the ink was still drying on the CD cover. Am I ever glad I did.
I was privileged to indulge myself – uninterrupted - in the great sounds from Don’t Explain during a recent round-trip to California. The album starts out with an incredible cover of the 1957 Ray Charles number, Sinner’s Prayer. Wow! Hart’s interpretation of the tune makes me want to run to the nearest alter every time I hear it. The only negative I can say about this is that the world has definitely been robbed since a duet with Mr. Charles and Ms. Hart singing this song will never happen. Can you imagine what that would be like? Needless to say, Sinner’s Prayer is one of several Boomerocity favorites on this album.
Another favorite is the treatment of the Bill Withers 1973 tune, For My Friend. While the Withers tune still stands the test of time over the close-to-40 years, I suspect that Beth’s version is one that will also be talked about 40 years from now, it’s that good.
One tune that should put Hart/Bonamassa into the history books (and is yet another Boomerocity favorite) is their incredible cover of the Etta James song, I’d Rather Go Blind. I have worn this song out. Actually, I’ve worn out the repeat button on my iPod. Rounding out the Boomerocity fave list is their rendition of the Delaney and Bonnie hit, Well Well. I usually don’t take too kindly to folks messin’ with my D&B but, after listening to this cover about a bijillion times, I had to grant special dispensation – ‘specially since both Joe and Beth flawlessly channel the Bramlett’s in their performance.
While these tunes represent my favorites, let me be clear: The entire album is great. I would go as far as to say that it’s a must-have for lovers of blues, jazz and good ol’ classic rock. It would be a great, early Christmas gift to yourself and for the music lover in your life.
Written by Randy Patterson