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Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa: Black Coffee

Vocal powerhouse Beth Hart and expert guitar slinger Joe Bonamassa are back together four years on from their Seesaw studio outing, an album that highlighted the strengths of both while still ensuring it was the classic songs of old that truly shone. Black Coffee finds the duo augmented by a whole gaggle of fine musicians adding bottom end, brass and groove continuing with the same ethos of taking some less well known songs from days gone by and giving them a second opportunity to take a bow and receive some well earned adulation.

As you'd doubtless expect both of the main protagonists are in scintillating form, this joining of singer and guitarist still pulling the best out of a pair that never disappoint. The vibe they create is classy, classic and carefully respectful, while still allowing these old songs to be reshaped and honed into retro-modern foot stompers. Bursting with gritty blues authority cuts originally by Ella Fitzgerald, LaVern Baker, Howlin' Wolf, Edgar Winter, Lucinda Williams, Waldeck, Ike & Tina Turner/Steve Marriott, Etta James and L'il Green are given new purpose, but all with the attention to detail and authenticity that ensures they still hold true to their roots.

The title track is a prime example, a song initially by Ike and Tina Turner and then reshaped by Steve Marriott now given a huge surge of caffeine fuelled adrenalin, Hart illustrating yet again why she's held up as one of the true leaders of the current soul and blues scene. If you're looking for vocal power then it's all right here but then so is poise, passion and precision. Bonamassa comes to the fore with a surging solo on the deep groove of "Why Don't You Do Right", made famous in 1941 by L'il Green, not that the fret-man is ever far from the spotlight, but he's also eager to share it with Hart and the band. "Saved" adds an upbeat gospel sway, drummer Anton Fig leading this track from the front and keeping everything firmly fixed to the road; Hart clearly enjoying the opportunity to really let loose, her full range employed as her easy energy comes gleefully pouring out of the speakers but it's the brass stabs that drive the fun packed fury home. It's the same story throughout, Edgar Winter's "Give It Everything You Got" finding all in attendance living up to the song's name, while "Sitting On Top Of The World" proves that Hart and Bonamassa can do smooth and smokey just as well as energetic and exuberant. Something confirmed by the obscure almost reggae blues of closer "Addicted", originally by Austrian electronic threesome Waldeck it may be an unexpected choice but it certainly adds a spicy kick to the end of an already tantalising brew.

I have to make a confession here I'll take a steaming mug of tea over a cup of coffee any day of the week and yet if this latest offering from Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa has taught me anything, it's that if I want coffee, I want it strong and as black as it comes.


Track Listing
1. Give It Everything You Got
2. Damn Your Eyes
3. Black Coffee
4. Lullaby Of The Leaves
5. Why Don't You Do Right
6. Saved
7. Sitting On Top Of The World
8. Joy
9. Soul On Fire
10. Addicted
11. Baby I Love You (exclusive CD-only bonus track)

Added: January 9th 2018
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Score:
Related Link: Black Coffee @ Mascot Label Group
Hits: 591
Language: english

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