Today’s CD: Joan Osborne – Relish, 1995. From my sister’s collection to my own. How’d that happen? (Sorry, Jamie.) (I never actually bought Smashing Pumpkins either. Another one of those “parting gifts.”) “Hi, my name is Wendy. I am a CD thief.” Remember Joan Osborne? She had that “What if God was one of us” song. You would never know from that single, but she is really a blues singer, really folksy. Her songs have a lot of mandolin, harmonica, and other blues type instruments. Some awesome bongo sounding drums…I think I even heard a mouth harp in there somewhere. I dig it. I discovered Lucinda Williams a couple years ago and Osborne is a lot like her. The girl can wail!
I haven’t given this CD a second thought in years¸ and I wasn’t expecting much: One of Us, maybe another hidden gem. I thought I’d laugh. But I was very pleasantly surprised. I forgot that I used to LOVE this album. Isn’t it amazing how you can still remember the words to a song you knew ten years ago, yet you forget how the Pledge of Allegiance goes? Or how to divide without a calculator? Or who your Senator is? Wait, I never knew that one… don’t those change periodically?
The first song, Teresa, made me realize what a fool I was for keeping poor Joan locked up in my CD cabinet for song long. Song after song plays through, not once do I fast forward or skip. I can’t get enough. This will be a new car stereo staple. She will sit next to Shawn Mullins and Robert Downey Jr. (Yup, that’s right you Iron Man fans! Not only is he funny, sexy, a great actor and Number 4 on my freebie list, he can sing to! Check out Man like Me; it’s my favorite.)
Dracula Moon sounds familiar. There is a line in the chorus that says “I’m just fallin’ from Grace.” I am thinking it may have played on the radio but I always thought it was Melissa Ethridge or something. Sorry, Joan. (Though she is bi-sexual… but I think a man must have won out because she has a daughter.)
Ahhh, time for One of Us. There is a little old lady singing a capella at the beginning, about God coming in an air plane or some nonsense. They never played that on the radio. Sure, I jammed out to this song at the traffic light, drawing the stares of the redneck in the big A truck next to me, but is it my favorite? Not even close. It is so entirely different from the rest of the album. It doesn’t fit. It makes me wonder what she was going on in her life/career when she wrote it and changed things up so. It is a pity that that song is what people know her for. She has so much more to offer.
Most of the songs are over 5 minutes, which is kind of rare these days. I love every song on the album. As soon as I finished the CD, I wanted to listen to it again. I don’t even miss NPR today, which is saying a lot.
I apologize, Miss Osborne. I greatly under estimated your talent. You rock.