Jimmy Barnes - 'Hindsight' (Provogue Records) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gaz E   
Monday, 20 October 2014 03:00

jimmybarneshindsightcoverWhat is it with people being born in Scotland relocating to Australia to become massive rock stars? Young Brothers aside, the greatest living advert for this upping of sticks for sunnier climes has to be Jimmy Barnes.

 

2014 finds the Cold Chisel frontman celebrating the thirtieth anniversary of his debut so, with a little help from some illustrious friends, he has cooked up a potent brew of earthy, honest-to-goodness rock 'n' roll in the studio, slapped the title 'Hindsight' on it, and pretty much sat back to revel in the acclaim afforded it.

 

After already hitting the Number One slot on the Australian album chart (giving Jimmy his fourteenth chart-topper, inclusive of both solo and Cold Chisel releases), the UK release of 'Hindsight' is imminent and, with a limited 180-gram double vinyl version available alongside the compact disc and digital versions, this is certainly not an album launch to be sniffed at.

 

'Hindsight' features re-workings of celebrated songs from throughout Jimmy's career and plays host to a legion of guest stars within its fifteen-song tracklisting, and it was one of these in particular that piqued my interest in this great new collection. 'I'd Die To Be With You Tonight' finds Barnes trading vocals with his brother-in-law, Mark Lizotte, also known, of course, as Johnny Diesel and, as credited here, just plain ol' Diesel. This reimagining of the opening track from Barnes' second studio album, 1985's 'For The Working Class Man', is excellent (I'm a big Diesel fan so that was a given), but, and this pleasantly surprised me, is far from being the best track on the album.

 

No, that accolade would have to go to any one of a trio of tracks that go above and beyond the generic 're-recording of classic' route.

 

Album opener, 'Lay Down Your Guns', is one of them - Barnes teaming up with Australian punk rockers The Living End to produce a rollicking version of the opening cut of his 1990 chart-topper, 'Two Fires'. The psychobilly elements of the guest band ooze out of the speakers and into the very fabric of the classic song, giving it an edgier feel, a slash of rebel spirit that conjures up thoughts of a road movie soundtrack.

 

'Time Will Tell' is massive. The song, originally from Jimmy's 1999 album, 'Love and Fear', features Baby Animals, and the sound of Barnes and Suze DeMarchi toing and froing vocally really is one to behold. Placed over a huge drum sound and some lead guitar that melts with the emotion of a gorgeous James Dean Bradfield-esque lead break, this track truly hits its every mark.

 

'Stand Up', debuted on Barnes' sixth studio album, 1993's 'Heat', features Jimmy's daughter Mahalia Barnes and her band, The Soul Mates. What happens over the ensuing three minutes and fifty-three seconds is magical. Think Sly and the Family Stone meets The Bellrays, father trying his hardest to keep up with a daughter who knocks a stunning vocal out of the ball park with ease. Listen to this and try and keep still - I dare ya!

 

(Little) Steven Van Zandt's contribution on 'Ride The Night Away' marks another high point on the album, and Jimmy's bluesy vocal on 'Going Down Alone', which features Neal Schon and Jonathan Cain of Journey, informs the listener that this legendary frontman is not being diluted by the passing of time. It's not all gold stars when it comes to the collaborations with the biggest names, however: the version of 'Stone Cold' here, featuring the vocals of Tina Arena and the guitar of Joe Bonamassa, is just that little too cabaret, too middle of the road for this listener who prefers his rock 'n' roll nearer to the gutter.

 

It's a minor complaint, though, and one that shouldn't put anyone off investigating the qualities of this new album. At fifteen tracks long it represents pretty decent value for money too. In fact, the only disappointment from me comes with the news that the impressive version of 'Good Times', featuring Keith Urban (yeah, you read that right!), has been omitted from the UK version of 'Hindsight' for, you'd imagine, reasons that have little to nothing to do with rock 'n' roll.

 

Happy anniversary, Jimmy.

 

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