Monday, 27 July 2009

Joe McBride - Lookin' For A Change - 2009 - Heads Up

I should NOT like this album yet I LOVE it! Its a set of cover versions AND rock and pop cover versions to boot. Not that I'm averse to all cover versions, you understand, nor rock and pop either. Since day one our music - soul, jazz, whatever has borrowed, covered and rehashed songs of the day, jazz being a prime example. Goodness knows, Lennon and McCartney did well from Motown and the likes of Sergio Mendes and Herb Alpert so what's happening here with Joe McBride is neither new nor radical. Though, as he's a change. And what a change too! Joe is a man I have long admired. He is able to serve up the hottest jazz music and the sexiest soulful vocal cuts. What he does on this CD is breathtaking, clever and sure to upset quite a few of his fanbase yet I implore you to stop and take a listen.

Joe has taken some recent hits and stripped them down to the bone, adding a much jazzier flesh and muscle around them. What he conjures up is both unique yet instantly recognisable. His straight up jazz reworking of the delicious Vanessa Carlton's "1000 Miles" is beyond excellent. This was a pop hit I LOVED, and I have played that song to death. I now have a jazz version which is equally as superb. What a great song and expertly recrafted. Another blinding track is his interpretation of Gnarls Berkey / Cee Lo's monster smash "Crazy". This was a great, great record and this straight-up jazz version is totally innovative, fresh and has so much gusto behind it. This really has Joe McBride stamped all over it and boy do I love it! Seal's "Kiss From A Rose" is another song that Joe bravely takes on and wins. You actually forget the original version when hearing these, even though the arrangements are sympathetic to the originals. It is with much credit to his co-musicians Dan Wilson (guitar), Roger Hines (upright bass) and Elijah Gilmore (drums). These guys really gel perfectly with Joe and their combined efforts work very well. A few songs simply do not work for me, the worst offender being the bluesy take on Cameo's "Word Up". Sorry, this really doesn't hit me at all but at least it is different! All in all I really think this will be an 'under-the-radar' smash album for Joe. Though next time I would like a set of original tunes in a soulful vein! Hint hint!

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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