How Sweet It Is by Joan Osborne | 5050159014422 | CD | Barnes & Noble
How Sweet It Is

How Sweet It Is

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by Joan Osborne
     
 

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Covers albums are nothing new, but as is her wont, Joan Osborne takes the road less traveled on How Sweet It Is, her homage to the sensual, often politically charged soul music of the late '60s and early '70s. Osborne says that she first had the idea of delving into the sound early in 2001, but her focus shifted following the September 11th attacks: In their

Overview

Covers albums are nothing new, but as is her wont, Joan Osborne takes the road less traveled on How Sweet It Is, her homage to the sensual, often politically charged soul music of the late '60s and early '70s. Osborne says that she first had the idea of delving into the sound early in 2001, but her focus shifted following the September 11th attacks: In their aftermath, the New York resident viewed the project through a different lens, emphasizing songs of brotherhood, like her achingly beautiful take on Timmy Thomas's "Why Can't We Live Together," and social protest, as on a reworking of Edwin Starr's "War" that casts the tune as a mournful blues rather than a fiery stomp. Several of the songs here -- the Marvin Gaye classic that gives the set its title, for one -- are straightforward love songs, but more often that love is expressed in the abstract. Stevie Wonder's "Love's in Need of Love Today" ponders an environment sorely lacking in that emotion; Jimi Hendrix's "Axis: Bold as Love" coats the heartstrings in surreal shades of psychedelia. Credit Osborne's genuine and generous delivery of these and other classics with making How Sweet It Is one of the few "tribute" albums that won't leave listeners pining for the originals before it reaches its final groove.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mark Deming
While 1995's Relish proved Joan Osborne was a smart and idiosyncratic lyricist with a big, strong and soulful voice, the unexpected success of the album (and the single "One Of Us") proved to be as much of a burden as a blessing. Touring kept Osborne out on the road for the next few years, and troubles with her record company prevented her follow-up, Righteous Love, from arriving in stores until 2000, after which it died quickly on the vine (though the album deserved a better fate). As Osborne was blocking out plans for her next album in the fall of 2001, the terrorist attacks of September 11 upended her musical priorities, and for How Sweet It Is, Osborne has indulged herself in the musical equivalent of comfort food by cutting covers of a dozen classic soul and R&B tunes from the 1960s and '70s, with the exception of three reworked rock numbers (Dave Mason's "Only You Know and I Know," the Band's "The Weight," and Jimi Hendrix's "Axis: Bold As Love"). While Osborne devotes herself to vintage material here, for the most part she avoids a retro vibe and, thankfully, avoids the contemporary failing of proving one's soulfulness by bending vocal lines into uncontrollable spasms of melisma. Here, Osborne merges passion with simplicity, while most of the tunes are recast in clean, spare arrangements which capture the classic lines of their melodies without sounding like retreads. And in a season of loss, fear, and mistrust, "Smiling Faces Sometime," "Why Can't We Live Together," and "Love's in Need of Love Today" sound potent and almost painfully relevant in this context, while the bluesy pleasures of "These Arms of Mine" and "I'll Be Around" feel as comforting as a hug and a cup of cocoa. How Sweet It Is is a rare example of an album of covers that doesn't sound like a holding action, and makes clear Joan Osborne is still an artist well worth watching.

Product Details

Release Date:
03/25/2008
Label:
Imports
UPC:
5050159014422
catalogNumber:
764606
Rank:
190380

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Joan Osborne   Primary Artist,Keyboards,Background Vocals
Vaneese Thomas   Background Vocals
Tawatha Agee   Background Vocals
Leroy Clouden   Drums
Curtis King   Background Vocals
John Leventhal   Bass,Guitar,Percussion,Electric Bass,Drums,Electric Guitar,Keyboards
Paulette McWilliams   Background Vocals
Audrey Martells   Background Vocals
Meshell Ndegeocello   Bass
Brian Mitchell   Organ
Shawn Pelton   Percussion,Drums
Fonzi Thornton   Background Vocals
Danny Louis   Trumpet,Clavinet
Sophia Ramos   Background Vocals
RIck DePofi   Solo Instrumental,Percussion,Bongos,Drums,Horn,Keyboards,Baritone Saxophone,Tenor Saxophone
?uestlove   Percussion,Drums
Andrew Carillo   Acoustic Guitar
Conrad Korsch   Bass,Acoustic Bass

Technical Credits

Timmy Thomas   Composer
Rob Arthur   Bass Programming
Isaac Hayes   Contributor
John Leventhal   Producer,Engineer
Joan Osborne   Producer,Engineer
RIck DePofi   Producer,Engineer

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How Sweet It Is 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just ordered Joan¿s new album and the streaming previews on her site are incredible. She lends her style to a diverse number of classics, ranging from Hendrix¿s ¿Axis Bold As Love¿ to a mellow, sultry reworking of Marvin Gaye's "How Sweet It Is". Joan takes these and songs by the Spinners,Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Sly and the Family Stone, The Band, among others, and reinterprets them with her trademarked soulful vocal style. I particularly enjoy ¿Only You Know and I Know¿. The gospel flavor of ¿Love¿s In Need of Love Today¿, and her new spin on "War" are particularly moving these days. Her funky reworking of ¿The Weight¿, and her more faithful interpretations of ¿Everybody Is a Star¿, and ¿These Arms of Mine¿ are instant favorites. Her vocals are up front, and the production is warm.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This week in my usual search for new music, I stumbled on the new Joan Osborne album while doing my regular album purchases. I used to be somewhat of a fan a few years ago when she had some success on MTV and so forth, but it was enough to make me interested in her music. I bought that album and when I noticed her new cd, How Sweet It Is, I figured what the heck the first album wasn¿t that bad. But, with this new cd there are a bunch of remakes of really cool songs from the 60¿s and 70¿s and stuff. One thing I also enjoy about the cd is the really soulful type of singing she does throughout the cd. I really like that kind of stuff. Also if you like Aretha, then definitely check out Joan¿s version of Think. That¿s my two cents.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just purchased the new Joan Osborne CD, How Sweet It Is, and it is full of soul. It has remakes of some great songs and her voice sounds the best it has ever sounded. She has a tremendous talent that I think everyone should check out.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Just hearing Joan's bluesy, soulful voice is like a cool breeze on a warm day. Joan sings from her heart right to ours. Her masterful take on these cover tracks has kept this fan firmly in Osborne's camp. I'm hoping this talented, unique artist will finally get the credit and recognition she deserves on a truly remarkable release. Ozzie and Sharon might be TV's favorite Osbournes, but Joan is the Osborne on my stereo and my lips.