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MARK TAYLOR'S BIG CITY NIGHTS
BETH HART AND JOE BONAMASSA
It's a fair bet that anything that blues maestro Joe Bonamassa touches these days will turn to gold and once again with this album he is standing on top of the podium with another shining medal around his neck. However this time it's a game of doubles and he has found the perfect partner to work with.
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LA Woman Beth Hart has been releasing records Stateside since 1993 but it's only recently she has been getting some recognition here in the UK. Often compard to Joplin with her deep rasping seductive voice Hart is no stranger to a few collabrations in the past, most notably on the track 'Haunted' from Deep Purple's 'Bananas' album which was the only time Ian Gillan had a backing vocalist and with Slash on the bonus track 'Mother Maria'.
After singing on the track 'No Love On The Street' for Joe Bonamassa's 'Dust Bowl' album the two have got together to perform a collection of soul classics for this highly inspiring collection.
I doubt many rock fans will own the soul originals that these two greats have decided to tackle. The majority of the numbers here are dark and moody from greats Etta James, Tom Waits, Billie Holiday, Aretha Franklin, Bill Withers and Nina Simone to name just a few.
Like Led Zeppelin did many moons ago with those Willie Dixon covers, Hart and Bonamassa have made these songs their own, giving them a whole new lease of life and feeling. The album is a grower and really chews you in and spits you out at the end.
'Your Heart Is As Black As Night' and 'Chocolate Jesus' are songs where Beth Hart sounds like Amy Winehouse with a tortured heart and then there's that Zeppelin vibe on the chunky 'For My Friend' and when Hart lets rip with her squealing vocals on 'I'll Take Care Of You' she sounds like a female Robert Plant.
Bonamassa takes the vocal lead on one song 'Well Well',a country track done Fleetwood Mac style.
There are far too many gems on here to go into too much detail. Already one of my favourite releases this year. Turn the lights off, light a candle, open a bottle of red wine because misery really does love this good company.