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Album Review

"Relish" can be a sharp, bittersweet condiment; it can also suggest a determined gusto to live to the fullest. Combined, these two images provide a good taste of Joan Osborne's major-label debut (the live Soul Show was self-released in 1992). Grounded in blues, soul and gospel, the Kentucky native wields her gritty voice with personality and forceful presence, kind of Melissa Etheridge meets Sophie B. Hawkins with a splash of Jann Arden. Osborne's passion for life oozes from the grooves. There's an uplifting fervor to her material and delivery, as if every second, every note was being individually savored. Key track "One of Us" sets the disc's optimistic tone. It's a simple, direct statement of faith, honest and unadorned, one framed in a near-perfect chorus and delectable Neil Young-ish guitar riff. This isn't one of those sugary, superficial, goody-two-shoes Amy Grant kind of deals. "Right Hand Man" and "Let's Just Get Naked" confirm that Osborne's earthy, enlightened spirituality shares the same bed with sensuality and sexuality. Well-rounded both lyrically and musically, there's also no contradiction in this universe between "Lumina"'s thoughtful balladry and the wailing harp and acoustic slide bursting the seams of "Help Me."

Customer Reviews

Amazing record with a few mistakes...

It's easy to see from this record that there might have been too many decision makers involved in making this record. It was a collaborative effort between Joan, a couple of A-list songwriters, and producer Rick Chertoff. The team created some amazing arrangements and sounds, but I believe they encouraged Joan to record a couple of very weak songs ("...naked" being the most ridiculous.) That said, there are some incredibly great recordings on this CD. "St. Teresa", which did not connect with radio, is a prime example of passionate art that doesn't appeal to the lowest common denominator. "Crazy Baby," "Ladder," and "Pensacola" are also passionate standouts. The last of these contains one of the most evocative passages I've heard in recent years... "I sold my blood for money, there wasn't any pain, but I just can't stand the feeling, it's in someone else's veins." You can get lost in this album. Don't rush to get out. Fran Snyder

Refreshing! Fantastic! Brilliant!

Those are the words (refreshing, fantastic, brilliant) that comes to mind when I listen to this CD. I became an INSTANT fan when I heard St. Teresa. It is such a brilliantly crafted song, with great mandolin playing, drums and Joan's sexy, raspy voice. The CD is fantastic from song 1 through song 12. I know the big hit is One of Us, but its not even the best song on the album. It is a shame the radiostations were stuck in a groove for only certain sounding songs, because I think people really missed out on a truly great voice. Joan absolutely kills on Ladder, smoke on Spider Web and wails on Crazy Baby. I am just glad she stayed persistent and kept going. Also it is a STEAL at the price ITUNES is selling the album at.


This album absolutely floored me. Joan Osborne was like no voice and no energy I had experienced since Janice Joplin. "Right Hand Man" is in the best American belting Rock/Blues tradition. I know that she has said she regrets doing the song, but there is nothing to regret. It is a classic. "St. Theresa," "Man in the Long Black Coat," and "Help Me" also stand up with anything done in blues or rock by anyone. I had not been aware of Joan Osborne previously, so this album came out of nowhere for me, a little like a two-by-four to the back of the head in a dark alley -- a really good-feeling two-by four. It's one of the best albums of it's genre in decades. Without doubt, a must have.


Born: July 8, 1962 in Anchorage, KY

Genre: Pop

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Singer Joan Osborne was born on July 8, 1962, in the town of Anchorage, Kentucky, but it wasn't until relocating to New York City in the early '90s (to study at NYU's film school) that she began to take a singing career seriously after performing Billie Holiday's classic "God Bless the Child" at a local bar's open-mike night. In addition to Holiday, Osborne looked to such legendary vocalists as Etta James and Ray Charles as role models, as the up-and-coming singer decided not to cater to major record...
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Relish, Joan Osborne
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