Title - 'Bare Bones' (Decca)
Artist - Bryan Adams
Oh, my God! This CD has to be the best Bryan Adams CD release in the past 10 years - or more! And yes, I know it's just a collection of his hits (and more), sung live (recorded in spring of 2010 during his "Bare Bones Tour"), minimally arranged, some songs even carrying along for the ride all manner of vocal and musical ticks, but that is the reason why you have to buy this CD - for it is raw, real and ready for playing over and over and over again!
I should know, I've done just that five times now!
Bryan Adams' new CD, 'Bare Bones' is an inspired collection of hits taken from his overly-impressive body of work. Spanning three decades, these are not just any songs that Adams thought would possibly like to be heard. Nope, chosen by a combination of suggestions received through Twitter and his official website, the final track listing reflects a well-balanced mixture of old, rare, familiar and new material.
As he walks on stage, settles into position alongside his piano player, Gary Breit, the applause is still evident as he quickly races into, 'You've Been A Friend To Me' - dedicated, in full, to his audience there, and fans in general.
Continuing onwards, the expressly-acoustic 'Here I Am,' 'I'm Ready,' the false-started 'Night To Remember,' 'It Ain't A Party (If You Can't Come 'Round),' and '(Everything I Do) I Do It For You' are all sung in fine style.
He then breaks for a moment to explain why he put the tour together in the first place. Well, he gives us the joke reason, anyway! He claims that a couple of years ago a guy came into his dressing room and asked him to read a letter he had ... addressed to Willie Nelson! Bryan told him he had the wrong person, but then the guy handed him his guitar to sign - so Bryan signed it as, yup, Willie Nelson!
Ever onwards and we get raw versions of 'Cuts Like A Knife,' the truly beautiful, albeit sung halfway thru as Willie Nelson (!) 'Please Forgive Me,' 'Summer Of '69,' the shortened 'Walk On By,' and the relaxed 'Cloud Number 9.' It's now he takes a request for the next song and from the front row a woman suggests a song title. And, from the back of the auditorium, a man shouts two titles that merge into one muffled request: "You're pregnant and want bus fare? I don't get it!," Bryan gently laughs, before asking the woman up front her name. "Martha ... 'It's Only Love'."
Featuring only his distinctive voice and guitar, Bryan knows these songs inside and out, and as much as there are flaws to be heard (especially in one un-named song, where his guitar playing vibrates his delicate-at-that-moment vocals, he rarely puts a real live foot wrong.
Talking about a song of his that some girl was singing in her front room that had already gotten 16 million hits, but when he'd gone to find the original video for the song found it wasn't even on YouTube, he gets his laugh; before heading into 'Heaven.'
Mentioning that he wrote 'Right Place' for Ray Charles, but never managed to give it to him (before he passed), he sings it in the most perfect Charlesque vocal tone. 'The Way You Make Me,' the usually raucous 'The Only Thing That Looks Good On Me Is You,' the tender 'You're Still Beautiful To Me' and 'Straight From The Heart' are all next in line.
The country-infused 'I Still Miss You...A Little Bit' gets a round of applause, and a few laughs and hand claps along the way, and the set-ending 'All For Love' brings the whole album to a close. And yes, the CD does seem to end rather quickly for my liking, much the same as the last song itself, which leaves one wondering, ... what happened next?!