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Review: 'JAMES, JIM'
'Tribute To 2'   

-  Label: 'ATO Records'
-  Genre: 'Pop' -  Release Date: '8th December 2017'

Our Rating:
Jim James has a great voice but, both as part of My Morning Jacket and as a solo performer, excessive reverb or mediocre material means that this doesn't always translate into great records.

There's no problem with below par songs on this new collection, however, as he cherry picks some of his all time favourite tunes.

These covers were recorded over a period of years and James says he sang them "to bring myself peace during a rough time or trying to make myself laugh or just have fun".

They range from early 20th century standards of British crooner Al Bowily (Midnight, The Stars And You,Love Is The Sweetest Thing) and his American equivalent Irving Berlin (Blue Skies) to more recent classics from the 1950s through to the 70s.

Emerson Lake & Palmer's Lucky Man is perhaps the most unexpected choice and Bob Dylan's I'll Be Your Baby Tonight the most predictable..

The tunes reflect changes in his mood which alternate between mournful, romantic and reflective. The one minute of Blue Skies is really the only openly optimistic track.

All the versions are highly respectful to the originals and the standout for me is the spellbinding Wild Honey written by Diane Izzo, a little known singer songwriter from Chicago who tragically passed away at the early age of 43.

A heart-tuggingly tender rendition of Willie Nelson's Funny How Time Slips Away is also something special as is his soulful reading of Brian Wilson's I Just Wasn't Made For These Times .

The release coincides with a reissue of a 2009 EP of six songs recorded as a tribute to George Harrison including a rousing My Sweet Lord and a goose-bump inducing All Things Must Pass.

The unfussy arrangements allow us to hear James' voice in all its glory and the album offers the welcome chance to revisit or discover some great pop songs.    

Jim James' website
  author: Martin Raybould

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JAMES, JIM - Tribute To 2
JAMES, JIM - Tribute To 2