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Joan Osborne has always had it in her to be a great blues and R&B singer. She was particularly impressive in the movie “Standing In The Shadows of Motown” where she joined Motown’s immortal house band the Funk Brothers on stage to sing “(Love Is Like A) Heat Wave” and “What Becomes Of The Brokenhearted.” After excelling with those performances it seemed only a matter of time before she would record a whole record of blues and R&B tunes.  What a record it is too. The best of her career so far.

The record features songs by artists such as Sonny Boy Williamson, Allen Tousaint, John Mayall, Ike Turner, Bill Withers, Otis Redding, Al Green, Muddy Waters and Slim Harpo. Leading off is a great cover of “I Don’t Need No Doctor”, originally recorded by the legendary Ray Charles. Her version is aggressive and tightly arranged. Osborne moves on to the title track, “Bring It on Home” which has a slow, sexy, ambling pace. Great stuff. Barbeque Bob Pomeroy provides some great harmonica on “Roll Like A Big Wheel” by little known but interesting, Olive Brown.

“Game Of Love” a song written by Ike Turner just for Tina is a defiant tune warning her significant other that what is good for the gander is good for the goose too. So straighten up.

Mayall’s “Broken Wings” gets a touching rendition. Toussaint’s “Shoorah! Shoorah!”, actually has the writer playing piano on the record and has ska feel to it and is the only song that is sonically different that the others on the cd. It fits though. Muddy Water’s “I Want To Be Loved” is up next and Osborne gives it simmering, mesmerising rendition. Wither’s “The Same Love That Made Me Laugh”, Green’s “Rhymes” and Clarence Carter‘s “I’m Qualified” are all given solid performances.

Redding’s “Champagne And Wine” is given a gorgeous arrangement and makes one want to go back and check out the original version of the song. Many of the performances on this cd do that. The highlight of the cd has to be Harpo’s “Shake Your Hips. An incendiary performance.

In reality, while some of these songs stand above the others there isn’t a bad track here. Highly recommended!


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