Beth Hart And Joe Bonamassa - Black Coffee album review

Third time together for rock’s Ike and Tina

Cover art for Beth Hart And Joe Bonamassa - Black Coffee album

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Bonamassa’s tireless work rate is at its most admirable on his duo albums with Beth Hart, which find him happy to sit back and showcase her vocal range.

Seesaw (2013) coaxed Hart towards jazz standards. This return engagement focuses on soul. Give It Everything You Got is an opening statement of intent. The screaming Sly Stone-style funk original by Edgar Winter’s White Trash actually gets dialled down a bit, but it still lets Hart come over like Tina Turner, with Bonamassa her benign Ike. Black Coffee – an actual Ike and Tina song, popularised by Humble Pie – is even better, its truck-stop rock dripping with innuendo and crossing racial and gender wires as Hart gets worked up into a mighty, majestic sweat. Etta James’ Damn Your Eyes pays straight blues tribute to a Hart hero, as she fails to escape a bad man’s allure, just like so many of her own, autobiographical songs. Jazz standard Lullaby Of The Leaves begins in husky torch song mode, but gains interest with a brassy Bonamassa guitar solo, like a Bond theme played past midnight in a Chicago dive. When these rockers go reggae for Addicted, though, it is, as usual, a step too far.

Nick Hasted

Nick Hasted writes about film, music, books and comics for Classic Rock, The Independent, Uncut, Jazzwise and The Arts Desk. He has published three books: The Dark Story of Eminem (2002), You Really Got Me: The Story of The Kinks (2011), and Jack White: How He Built An Empire From The Blues (2016).