HomeReviewsOn DiscClassic Disc: Joan Osborne's 'Relish'

Classic Disc: Joan Osborne’s ‘Relish’

Producer: Rick Chertoff

Singles: “One of Us,” “St. Teresa,” “Right Hand Man,” “Ladder”
Release date: 21 March 1995
Label: Blue Gorilla Records/Mercury
CD catalog#: P2-26699

The Skinny

“One of Us” went to #4 on the Billboard Hot 100 in January of 1996. There’s plenty more good white-girl soul on this record, as well. Quintessential 90s-modern sound, well worth adding to your collection. “One of Us” is a great single.

Sounds like

Janis Joplin, Sheryl Crowe, 10,000 Maniacs, Black Crows, Sharon Jones & The Dap Kings, Lucinda Williams

Deeper Thoughts

This is a bad-ass debut. At 33, Osborne clearly had spent a lot of time singing for her supper. That experience and maturity lead this record to emerge fully realized. I was surprised that she’s had regular releases since Relish, including 2017’s collection of Dylan covers. Not sure how we lost track of her. The hard-rock blues of “Right Hand Man” is a highlight, with (surprise) a sax solo! “Spider Webs” is a  glorious mess that imagines if Ray Charles could see. Prototypical 90s vocals — rejects the 80s squeaky sexpot and embraces a more earthy, authentic sound steeped in soul and blues. I learned how to play drums playing along to this record, so of course I like it.

The Sonics

This is a very muscular sound. Lots of balls-to-the-wall low-end. Tons of snakey Strat. Great bass thump. The more tender tunes kind of thin out a bit, though.


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