Breakfast In Bed, Joan Osborne's recently recorded new studio album, pays homage to the great Soul and R&B songs of the late '60s and early '70s. The album features a unique combination of unforgettable interpretations of timeless R&B classics and Joan's newly penned songs powerfully faithful to those classics. While the singer/songwriter, whose Top-5 single (What If God Was) One Of Us, propelled her album Relish into the Top-10 and went on to sell 3 million copies, has long explored different musical genres, there is no doubt that R&B is her first love. This new release highlights six of Joan's original songs and ten emotion-filled classics including: Midnight Train to Georgia, I've Got to Use My Imagination, Ain't No Sunshine, Breakfast in Bed, Kiss and Say Goodbye, Heat Wave and What Becomes of the Brokenhearted. The latter two are bonus tracks taken from the highly successful soundtrack of the music documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown.
On Breakfast in Bed
, her first release on Time Life Records (yes, that
Time Life) Joan Osborne tackles a crop of hand-picked soul and R&B favorites with equal parts sass and sensitivity. Long an underappreciated artist, Osborne is a performer with the wisdom to exercise vocal restraint for an effect that's more Dusty Springfield than Christina Aguilera. Her fine previous outing interpreting soul standards was aptly titled How Sweet It Is
, and witness her contribution to the terrific 2002 film Standing in the Shadows of Motown
, where Osborne's astute readings of "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted" and "Heatwave" outshone performers like Ben Harper and Gerald Levert (happily, both songs are included here). The title track and Hall and Oates' "Sara Smile" are both canny choices that play to her strengths in delivering credible blue-eyed soul, and six new Osborne-penned songs fit neatly into the record. If her compositions pale a bit next to the classics she covers (with the sultry and slithery exception of the excellent "Eliminate the Night"), give Osborne credit for bravely placing herself side-by-side with songwriting luminaries like Holland-Dozier-Holland and Bill Withers. Breakfast in Bed
makes for a leisurely listen on a sunny Sunday morning, so put up your feet and stay awhile. --Ben Heege