Excellent bluesy covers
Rock veterans Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa have come together for their third album of cover songs, Black Coffee. Following off of their first albums, including the 2014 Grammy nominated Seesaw, is a hard feat. However, Hart and Bonamassa have done it again, producing a bluesy album full of energy and life. From Hart’s powerful vocals to Bonamassa’s wailing guitar, the two make a great duo and Black Coffee may be their best collaboration yet.
The album starts off with the rockin’ Edgar Winter cover “Give It Everything You Got.” This song is full of energy and is a perfect way to start the album. Hart’s vocals give the song new life, and the gospel choir-like background vocals help the song maintain its energy. Furthermore, the instruments in the background, including brass instruments, makes the listener want to follow the lyrics, “If you want to dance/ Oh you can sit and groove/ Oh baby if you wanna move.”
Two other notable early songs on the album are the namesake “Black Coffee” and “Lullaby Of The Leaves.” “Black Coffee” is a cover of the 1973 song by Humble Pie, and it does the original justice and more. Hart gives the song emotion that the original didn’t know it was missing. The most powerfully sung lines in the song are, “You see my skin is white but my soul is black/ So hot black coffee, that’s where it’s at.” It’s obvious why Hart and Bonamassa chose this to be the title song of the album, as it’s arguably the best one. “Lullaby Of The Leaves” is also a great song, but is very different from “Black Coffee.” It’s more old-fashioned sounding, breaking away from the general definition of rock. It’s a beautiful cover of an Ella Fitzgerald song, and it showcases Hart’s vocals in a new light. She is able to hit some impressive notes and showcases her vocal abilities very well. Plus, Bonamassa has some impressive guitar riffs towards the end, adding his own flair to the traditional song.
The widely covered “Sittin’ On Top Of The World” is another song that deserves recognition. Much like every other cover of it, Hart and Bonamassa put their own spin to it, referring to a “he” going away, and how the speaker is sitting on top of the world now that he’s gone. Hart’s vocals and Bonamassa’s guitar practically fight to be heard, and it’s a perfect combination. The album then ends with “Addicted,” a cover of Klaus Waldeck’s song. It’s a more subdued way to end the album, and it works perfectly. While “Give It Everything You Got” is an exciting intro, “Addicted” wraps everything up. Plus, lyrics like “Oh baby come back to me/ Please darling can’t you see/ That I’m addicted to you” explain a listener’s relationship to this album well. It’s an addictive album that is worth listening to over and over again.