Black Coffee

Beth Hart / Joe Bonamassa

J&R Adventures, 2018

http://bethhart.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/17/2018

If you're having a hard time keeping track of how many albums Joe Bonamassa has released or played on in the last couple years, well, you're not alone. This time Bonamassa aligns himself with Beth Hart with a follow-up album to their much beloved 2013 covers effort, my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Seesaw.

“Give It Everything You Got” is a fantastic start of the listen with Bonamassa's trademark bluesy guitars that meet horns and most importantly, Hart's animated, rich vocals. “Damn Your Eyes” then brings the tone back in size but leaves the blues and soulful aspect, with Hart putting on a stunning vocal performance. The title track “Black Coffee” is another gem, finding Hart channels her inner Janis Joplin while the backing vocals give us a Motown feel. Meanwhile, “Lullaby Of The Leaves” is just that, a lullaby with soft keys and a warm atmosphere. “Why Don't You Do Right” is where horns return with Bonamassa's chilling guitar work supporting the tune, as well as jumpy keys to complement the affair. 

The second half of the album keeps the affair lively with the rowdy “Saved” and the vivid blues spirit of “Sitting On Top Of The World,” where organs really add to the experience. “Soul On Fire” is one of the best selections here, with breezy melodies and really heartfelt guitar work, and the album exits on the reggae influenced “Addicted.”

Legends like Ray Charles, Lucinda Williams, and Etta James, among others, are illuminated here, and it's pretty safe to say that these renditions truly do justice to the originals. This is the third time that Hart and Bonamassa have collaborated on a covers album, and much like the first two, it's a monumental success. I guess, though, when you bring so much talent to the table, magic is bound to happen.

Rating: A-

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