JOAN OSBORNE
" Bring It On Home "
Saguaro Road Records
The story supposedly goes that Osborne personally selected the tunes for this disc, tracks originally authored by the likes of John Mayall, Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy, Bill Withers, Otis Redding, and others. She also used her longtime guitarist and producer Jack Petruzzelli, as her co-producer. Yet Bring It On Home fails to deliver the goods.

Readily apparent on the opening "I Don't Need No Doctor"(by the recently departed Nick Ashford) itís obvious that this recording is going to be difficult to endure. Osborn's voice just doesn't fit, and the band (while attempting to soar) misses the mark, the horn section is also lame. Willie Dixon's title track is even worse as Osborne struggles to invoke passion. The rocking "Roll Like A Big Wheel" by Olive Brown, is a better fit, but still lacks legitimacy. Ike Turner's "Game Of Love" comes across quirky. Mayallís "Broken Wings" is by far the best track where Osborne is finally vocally comfortable, but it's not likely this will have anyone running to purchase this album from one track. Even the great Allen Toussaint can't impact his own "Shoorah! Shoorah!" Osborne takes a second run at Dixon on "I Want To Be Loved" and it should have left it behind on the cutting room floor. By now you get the vibe, as covers by Bill Withers, James Moore, Otis Redding, Al Green, and others don't cut it though the closing "Rhymes" (by Al Green) is somewhat tolerable.

Even though "Bring It On Home" was recorded live at the Waterfront Studios in Hudson, NY, where engineer Henry Hirsch utilized an analog twenty-four track Studer tape recorder to attempt to recreate the warm analogue sound of past eras, the sound here is mostly frigid and offers no glow and/or warmth whatsoever.

The guest musicians Barbecue Bob Pomeroy (harmonica), Allen Toussaint (piano), vocalists the Holmes Brothers, Rufus Thomas daughter Vaneese Thomas, and the usually very reliable Jimmy Vivino who assembled all horn arrangements is impressive. Yet none of these fine musicians raise the bar nearly enough to salvage this misguided recording. In summary; Caveat emptor: proceed at your own risk, and don't say you weren't forewarned.

Bob Putignano a senior contributing editor at BluesWax. He is also the heart of Sounds of Blues at www.SoundsofBlue.com. Bob maybe contacted at: bob8003@yahoo.com

Bob Putignano: www.SoundsofBlue.com