Steaming Hot Black Coffee Courtesy of Beth Hart Joe Bonamassa Combo
Black Coffee is only as tasty as the beans selected and then the careful roasting to leave a smooth, tasty brew with depths of flavours and tastes to excite those taste buds. Has this been achieved as Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa collaborate once again on Black Coffee? We have waited four years for the album to be brewed and the wait is worth it the tonal textures and shapes excite adding new nuances to the selection of songs chosen by Hart & Bonamassa for our aural stimulation. The production takes the music and adds that magic to the sound just as master coffee roasters use all of their sense so does Kevin ‘The Caveman’ Shirley.
The songs have been selected to touch your soul as they have been re-imagined and given magical sparkle to the lyrics as they are vocalized through the phenomenal vocal chords of Ms Beth Hart. With the guitar playing of Joe Bonamassa that laughs, cry’s and squeals as the emotion are wrung from the tracks by his six-strings. Added to the mix Hart & Bonamassa have surrounded themselves with musicians who understand intuitively the way Beth & Joe work. The Black Coffee is definitely steaming, as the album invigorates the classics.
Opening the album is the guitar of Joe Bonamassa, full on the distorted ear-catching heavy rock with the horns picking up the notes and heralding the vocals of Beth. Whenever I hear Beth her voice sends that luscious tingle of pure pleasure down my spine. Give It Everything You Got, the Edgar Winter number from his White Trash album is a masterstroke as the opener as it is telling you this is music that has been blended with skill and understanding and you are filled with the warmth of soulful sounds. Turning next to Etta James, Damn Your Eyes. Her voice is the focus of the album as Hart blends the inner chemistry of great women singers, to simply compare her to Janis Joplin or Nina Simone is just not enough. Her vocals are power and vulnerability pure and dirty. She is Beth Hart and her vocals are incomparable as she makes this number her own with a warmth that adds to the inner mystery of the number.
The Title track, Black Coffee associated with Humble Pie & Steve Marriott was originally sung by Ike & Tina Turner. She sings each word with a tonal depth that you just want it to go on and on Black Coffee, dark, hot and tasty. Beth’s voice captures every sip of coffee that invigorates your soul. The instrumentation is minimal, chords from keys plus the addition of backing vocals echoing Beth’s refrain of Black Coffee. Three songs in – I am well and truly hooked. Every number is superb, definitely an album that once loaded stays on re-play.
Now we travel to Broadway with Lullaby of The Leaves, the temperature changes. The sound is a gentle soothing refrain with the guitar work from Bonamassa adding to the quality of re-imagining Etta James’ number from Hello Dolly. We are now calm, refreshed and ready for what else the album unfolds. This is the perfect duet of vocals and guitar captured by Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa, the intensity is palpable.
We are all Saved by the lyrical dexterity that is demonstrated by Beth on a number covered by many and sung originally by LaVern Baker. The tempo is picked up and we are now moving with the vibe created. Then a classic has been done so many times you do wonder do we need another one? Yes, we do! The Howlin’ Wolf number grounds the album with this version that has a sting in its tail a mix of coffee ground and cream. Beth’s vocals drawl through the lyrics with the splash of guitar and the judiciously added tone from keys.
Closing out with Addicted from a collaboration that sparkles and shines every track has a dimension that thrills, surprises and leaves with a musical smile of delight. Choosing not to close with a well-known, establish classic they have left one surprise in the coffee pot a track from Austrian trio Waldeck a new name for me. Shirley came across this 2007 trip-hop leaning album whilst on holiday and “shazamed” it. If you weren’t Addicted to the Beth & Joe combo you will be after a swig of this layered and tuneful album. Black Coffee that will always hit all the right spots.
Black Coffee – Beth Hart & Joe Bonamassa – Mascot Label Group
TENdoodle paws out of TEN …
- Give It Everything You Got
- Damn Your Eyes
- Black Coffee
- Lullaby Of The Leaves
- Why Don’t You Do Right
- Sitting On Top Of The World
- Soul On Fire
- Baby I Love You (Bonus Track)
Anton Fig (Drums/Percussion)
Ron Dziubla (Saxophone)
Lee Thornburg (Horn Arrangements/Trumpet/Trombone)
Reese Wynans (Keyboards)
Michael Rhodes (Bass)
Rob McNelley (Rhythm Guitar)
Paulie Cerra (Saxophone)
Mahalia Barnes (Backing Vocals)
Jade Macrae (Backing Vocals)
Juanita Tippins (Backing vocals)
Recorded at the Palms, Las Vegas