Reviewed by Harry Kaplan
OK, right off the bat this album gets ten stars for the fact that there is a cover of War Pigs by Black Sabbath on this album. Ruthie foster covers the heavy metal classic and transforms that song into a bluesy gospel number that is jaw droppingly good. Like Johnny Cash used to do, Foster takes this song and makes it her own. She makes this a stand alone song and not a cover tune any more.
Ruthie Foster comes from a musical family with a strong gospel background in Gause, TX. Those gospel roots are very apparent in her blues tinged music. They are natural together and the mix serves Foster extremely well. Foster joined the Navy after high school and she joined the Naval band that played pop and funk hits at recruitment drives in the southeastern United States. Foster has played with the Allman Brothers, Susan Tedeschi, and Warren Haynes. In addition to knowing her way around the blues, Foster is also well versed in rock and roll.
Joy Comes Back is a very healthy mix of blues, rock and roll, gospel, and rhythm and blues. It certainly is comforting to hear people play instruments and sing without the aid of a lot of technological devices. This album is well produced and recorded but relies on the talents of the players, rather than some knob twisting to make the album palatable. The talent and energy is easy to detect and hard to forget. This album is a toe tapper from the first note to the last.
The song Joy Comes Back (Track 3) makes me feel like I am in church. It is an inspirational number that is so infectious. A mix of blues and gospel make this song vintage and current at the same. Joy Comes Back is about getting back on your feet after being down. I could easily see a choir singing this on Sunday and can also imagine hearing this on the radio. The electric slide guitar and piano parts add to the vintage feel of this song. Don’t let the vintage feel fool ya, this song is as timeless as they get.