September 15, 2017 – 3:36 am


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Ocean City, NJ 2017 [no label, 1CD]

Live at the Ocean City Music Pier, Ocean City, NJ; July 31, 2017 (opened for Shawn Colvin). Very good audience recording.

On September 1, 2017, Joan Osborne released her tribute album, Songs of Bob Dylan.

Hal Horowitz,

From folk to county, blues to rock, pop to prog, jazz, gospel, R&B, metal and nearly everything in between, Bob Dylan’s music has proven to be remarkably adaptable to interpretations in almost every genre. And while it might be a stretch to imply that no one has gone broke covering Dylan’s tunes, the best songs in his extensive catalog come pre-approved with melodies and especially lyrics ripe for rediscovery.

Enter Joan Osborne, no stranger to performing others’ tunes. The veteran singer already has three collections of blues and soul (and another dedicated to Christmas) covers to her name. She dug into Dylan’s fertile, sprawling catalog with a few extended two-week residencies in a New York City club where she performed his music to intimate audiences. This 13-track studio set follows those gigs and exposes the world to what the NYC folks got a taste of.

Osborne’s choice of material spans Dylan’s five-decade career. She tackles everything with an emphasis on well known - some may say well worn - ’60s tracks such as “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35,” a chilling, stripped down “Masters of War” and Basement Tapes’ era gems “Quinn the Eskimo” and “You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere.” She digs deeper to mine later, lesser known selections like “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven” (from Time Out of Mind), “Ring Them Bells” (on 1989’s Oh Mercy) and “High Water (For Charlie Patton),” nicked off 2001’s Love and Theft. Some are radically rearranged with “Highway 61 Revisited” tamped down from its caffeinated Dylan reading and given a darker, swampy, Southern rock via “Whipping Post”-styled treatment. Others like “You’re Gonna’ Make Me Lonesome When You Go” and “Buckets of Rain” (two of three selections she grabs from Blood on the Tracks) stay closer to Dylan’s take.

Jude Rogers,

Into the quiet days of late summer comes a one-hit wonder tackling a colossus. But fair play to Joan Osborne - women taking on Dylan’s music have previously worked wonders. Nina Simone smoothed Just Like a Woman’s creases of misogyny into a moving meditation on vulnerability, while Adele transformed Make You Feel My Love’s croaky sweetness into a planet-swallowing power ballad. Osborne’s take on Dylan is straighter and plainer, though, primed for windows wound down on the highway, with a side dollop of Memphis soul. Most famous for her 1995 God-bothering smash hit One of Us, she’s best here stripping down tunes: Highway 61 Revisited loses its whistle-led hijinks to get nicely gutsy and mournful, while on a rootsy yomp through the often execrable Rainy Day Women 12 & 35 Osborne sounds like Chrissie Hynde. Many other covers here, however, feel like exercises in easy comforts, not drills in renewed energy.

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Thanks to edtyre who recorded and shared the show at Dime.

Picture by Jeff Fasano, posted at - Thanks!

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7th row left of center

Click on the highlighted tracks to download the MP3s (320 kbps). As far as we can ascertain, these tracks have never been officially released on CD.

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Track 01. High Water 6:09
Track 02. Spanish Harlem Incident 4:23
Track 03. Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright 6:51
Track 04. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 5:30
Track 05. Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat 5:48
Track 06. Buckets of Rain 4:30
Track 07. Masters of War 5:17
Track 08. Highway 61 Revisited 5:50
Track 09. One Of Us 6:36
Track 10. Ring Them Bells 5:11
Track 11. Tangled Up in Blue * 8:16
65 mins

Joan Osborne - guitar, percussion, vocals
Jack Petruzzelli - guitar, vocals

* with Shawn Colvin

Click here to order Songs of Bob Dylan.

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  1. 4 Responses to “JOAN OSBORNE - OCEAN CITY, NJ 2017”

  2. As someone who has been (enthusiastically) following Joan Osborne’s career from the early ’90s (Her debut: Soul Show is probably my favorite), I can only see Jude Rogers’ “one-hit” comment for what it is: a mis-informed, uneducated comment from someone too lazy to do the work necessary to truly represent this artist. Shame on you.

    By Otis on Sep 15, 2017

  3. Right on Otis a fearless Female performer who wont play the music bizz game loved in the Jam band scene…and all ways had a great taste in tunes to cover…Thanks big O

    By skinned knees on Sep 15, 2017

  4. Well we get that Otis and skinned knees are fans which is great but what of Rogers’ review is wrong? In the entire Dylan covers set she posits one number of her own - her only ‘hit’ that I am aware of. The comments about ‘execrable’ Rainy Day is about bang on and the arrangements on most of these you can find in any old folk club worth it’s salt years ago. As a testament to someone who appears, I say appears, to have run out of any ideas early this review was helpful and to these ears totally on the money. It’s just opinions guys. He’s welcome to summarise and I am welcome to agree just as you are welcome to disagree but to call someone out saying ‘mis-informed’, ‘uneducated’ and ‘lazy’ reveals you to be ignorant and we after listening to this set, assume therefore merely sycophantic. This is about as ‘Meh!’ an evening of sitting on the masters coattails as it’s possible to get. This is precisely why people like Osbourne are ‘one-hit wonders’. As a yardstick it doesn’t mean much. Hits aren’t everything obviously but name me another song she shared globally and I’ll change my mind
    Dreadful and that’s my opinion.
    That is all

    By swappers on Sep 15, 2017

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  2. Jan 6, 2018: roio » Blog Archive » JOAN OSBORNE - NEW JERSEY 2017

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